Dr Yu-ping Luk
Basil Gray Curator: Chinese Paintings, Prints andCentral Asian Collection, British Museum
The iridescent kingfisher feather had been regarded as a luxurious material and was desirable as decoration particularly on hairpins and headdresses. Trimmed into shape and fixed onto surfaces with glue, the feathers look like blue or turquoise enamel from afar. This type of decoration, known as diancui in Chinese, was considered so extravagant that even emperors tried to ban it.
This talk explores the history of kingfisher feather jewellery from China and the technique of its production. It will also look at some splendid examples from the imperial court and uncover how this type of decoration came to be known and collected in Europe.
Please note: the event is being held at Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution (BRLSI), 16 – 18 Queen Square, Bath BA1 2HN