Hollowed-out Gold Flat Hairpin with Bat and "Shou" Character Design

 

Qing Dynasty
Length: 32cm
Maximum width: 4.3cm

The rectangular flat hairpin is made of gold of good fineness. Both ends of the hairpin are engraved with coin patterns and the hollowed-out areas are filled with jade and emerald characters of "fu", "gui", "ji" and "xiang", meaning "wealthy", "noble", "propitious" and "auspicious" respectively. In the middle of the hairpin, three "shou" (meaning "longevity") characters and two bats (a bat is a symbol of good fortune in Chinese culture) in alternation are engraved. On one end of the hairpin, a jade bat and two tourmaline flowers are embedded.

Flat hairpins were used to hold hair in place and they were much-loved ornaments of the Qing Dynasty empresses and concubines.