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This information was automatically generated from data provided by MOA: University of British Columbia. It has been standardized to aid in finding and grouping information within the RRN. Accuracy and meaning should be verified from the Data Source tab.


The folded opera hat or lotus seed guard's hat is black and rectangular with a rounded top piece, a back flap and embroidered motifs. The hat has a black centre panel which folds inwards on both sides. Embroidered on the centre panel are two pink peonies with green leaves and blue swirls. These designs are repeated on the inside of both side folds. The rounded top piece has pink and orange peonies with green leaves and swirls. Hanging down from the top piece on either side of the centre panel is a red streamer. On the back, the flap mimics the rounded top piece and extends down past the bottom of the folded centre panel, flaring out at the bottom. In the centre of the flap is a large pink and blue peony. Surrounding the flower is a circle of gold scroll designs and pink peonies with green leaves and blue swirls. On the inside of the hat is ecru lining, stiffened with cardboard. Two thick ecru ties are attached and tied together.

History Of Use

Headdresses, such as this example, were designed soft and foldable for travel and made of flexible materials such as silk, cotton, hemp, paper, and bamboo.

Cultural Context


Iconographic Meaning

The fact that the hat is for a guard is indicated by the shape of the hat.

Specific Techniques

All visible stitching was done by hand. Layer of heavy paper? pasted between two layers of fabric. Embroidery was done with long rough satin stitches. Couching was loosely stitched. Ties were hand woven.


A large group of Cantonese opera costumes, musical instruments, props, trunks, and stage fittings was left with the Jin Wah Sing Musical Association, apparently by some of the many itinerant troupes visiting Vancouver to perform in the Chinatown theatres in the pre World War II period. There is no certain knowledge of why these materials were not taken back to China by them. They were used by the Jin Wah Sing Musical Association in their performances until they became too dated. The association continued to preserve them carefully, storing them in their headquarters and in the basement of the Chinese Freemasons building until several groups of materials were sold and donated to the Museum of Anthropology.

Item History

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