Royal items from Megan’s favorite museum, The Walters Art Museum
This pair of ornaments (with Walters 86.1) and headdress (Walters 86.3) were likely once worn by the empress dowager, the effective ruler of China during the later years of the Qing Dynasty. It is an exquisite example of Chinese decoration and the symbolism used to express one’s rank. The small phoenixes emerging from the surface represent the empress, while the myriad of pearls and gemstones mark this piece as something special for the adornment of the highest ranking woman in Chinese society. The brilliant blue feathers of the kingfisher give these accessories an eye-catching quality that anyone interested in being recognized would certainly embrace.