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Chinese Hairpins

Chinese hairpins, referred to as “ji," were particularly popular among Chinese men and women during the Han period, which started in 206 B.C. At that time, the way a woman dressed and chose to ornament herself was very important to display her social status. Women were expected to be neat and elegant, and to choose accessories that would complement her facial features. The social status of men was also flaunted by use of decorative accessories like hairpins.

Chinese decorative hairpins were made with a wide variety of materials including jade, bone, ceramic, silver, and wood. Over time, these hairpins developed in size and looked like crowns with kingfisher feathers and many colorful ornaments dangling from the end, and a wide diadem that became popular during the Tang dynasty (618-916 A.D.).

Hairpins, used to secure hair into a bun and also for decoration, was also symbolic of marriage. Prior to becoming of age to marry, young women are considered girls and are not given decorative hairpins. However, when a woman becomes 15, she receives her first hairpin. Henceforth this pin symbolizes that she is ready to be married. Hairpins are also presented by the woman to her significant other during the time of engagement in order to signify her betrothal to him.


Quick Facts

  • Before the Qing dynasty, everyone, female and male, wore their hair in a bun secured by a ji hairpin
  • High-ranked women often wore a pin called “buyao” which was decorated very intricately and had many dangling attachments that shook as they walked. A buyao was usually made of gold, pearl, and jade
  • Often, when lovers parted, they would break a hairpin in half so that each could hold onto one half until they were reunited

Recommended Items at Auction

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Naga Hair Pin, Early 20th C.
Nov 14, 10:00 AM EST
Naga Hair Pin, Early 20th C.
by Material Culture
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
A CHINESE GILT-SILVER FLORAL HAIR PIN
Oct 30, 8:00 PM EDT
A CHINESE GILT-SILVER FLORAL HAIR PIN
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Est: $600- $800
$2000 Bids
PAIR OF CHINESE ARCHAISTIC STYLE JADE HAIR PINS
Oct 30, 8:00 PM EDT
PAIR OF CHINESE ARCHAISTIC STYLE JADE HAIR PINS
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Est: $2,000- $3,000
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Fine and Rare Abelam Hair Ornament, East Sepik Province, PNG, Early 20th C.
Nov 14, 10:00 AM EST
Fine and Rare Abelam Hair Ornament, East Sepik Province, PNG, Early 20th C.
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Est: $2,000- $4,000
$1,0000 Bids
Himalayan Yak Hair Woven Adornment
Nov 15, 10:00 AM EST
Himalayan Yak Hair Woven Adornment
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Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
Anonymous (Qing Dynasty) Magu
Nov 11, 10:30 AM GMT
Anonymous (Qing Dynasty) Magu
by Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales
Est: £500- £600
£5000 Bids
A Carved Chicken Bone White Jade Hairpin
Nov 01, 3:30 PM PDT
A Carved Chicken Bone White Jade Hairpin
by Walnut Tree Auction House, Inc
Est: $500- $800
$1000 Bids
A Carved Grayish Jade Dragon Hairpin
Nov 01, 3:30 PM PDT
A Carved Grayish Jade Dragon Hairpin
by Walnut Tree Auction House, Inc
Est: $800- $1,000
$1000 Bids
A collection of Chinese hair ornaments and pins
Nov 10, 10:00 AM GMT
A collection of Chinese hair ornaments and pins
by Roseberys
Est: £150- £250
£1400 Bids
3 Chinese antique Miao Ethnic minority silver hair pins
Oct 31, 10:00 AM AEDT
3 Chinese antique Miao Ethnic minority silver hair pins
by Woodlands Auctions
Est: AUD100- AUD200
AUD500 Bids
19th C. Chinese Kingfisher Hair Pin Group (3 Pcs)
Nov 05, 9:00 AM EDT
19th C. Chinese Kingfisher Hair Pin Group (3 Pcs)
by Roland Auctions NY
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
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A GROUP OF FIVE JADE HAIRPINS AND A HAIR-FITTING 19th century (6)
Nov 01, 10:00 AM GMT
A GROUP OF FIVE JADE HAIRPINS AND A HAIR-FITTING 19th century (6)
by Bonhams
Est: £1,200- £1,500
£1,2000 Bids
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ANTIQUE CHINESE HAIR CLIPS, METALS, PENDANTS- (25)
Nov 06, 2:00 PM EDT
ANTIQUE CHINESE HAIR CLIPS, METALS, PENDANTS- (25)
by Florida Estate Sales Inc.
Est: $50- $10,000
$100 Bids
A CHINESE PALE CELADON GLASS HAIRPIN.
Nov 19, 9:00 AM GMT
A CHINESE PALE CELADON GLASS HAIRPIN.
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £300- £500
£3000 Bids
Antique / Vintage Chinese Coral / Turquoise Silver Hair Ornament
Oct 30, 1:00 PM EDT
Antique / Vintage Chinese Coral / Turquoise Silver Hair Ornament
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $600- $6,000
$6000 Bids
Mottled Jadeite Hair Pin
Nov 06, 3:00 PM PDT
Mottled Jadeite Hair Pin
by China Arts Auction
Est: $1,500- $2,000
$5000 Bids
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GOLD CAST PHOENIX HAIRPIN
Oct 28, 1:00 PM EDT
GOLD CAST PHOENIX HAIRPIN
by Empire Auction House
Est: $1,200- $1,500
$7000 Bids
Chinese Jade 'Flower' Hair Clasp
Nov 19, 10:00 AM EST
Chinese Jade 'Flower' Hair Clasp
by Fox Wood Auctioneer Inc
Est: $300- $500
$1000 Bids
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GILT SILVER&TIAN-TSUI WITH PEARL&GEM HAIRPIN
Nov 03, 10:00 AM EDT
GILT SILVER&TIAN-TSUI WITH PEARL&GEM HAIRPIN
by Empire Auction House
Est: $800- $1,000
$5000 Bids
Antique Chinese Silver Hair Pin
Oct 30, 12:00 PM EDT
Antique Chinese Silver Hair Pin
by Rose's Antiques
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
GILT-SILVER FILIGREE 'DRAGON' HAIR CLIP
Nov 10, 9:00 AM EST
GILT-SILVER FILIGREE 'DRAGON' HAIR CLIP
by Merces Gallery LLC
Est: $7,000- $12,000
$3,0000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Hairpins


Material Culture

Material Culture

Empire Auction House

Empire Auction House

Walnut Tree Auction House, Inc

Walnut Tree Auction House, Inc