Gold Hat Ornament with Pale Yellow Sapphire

Hubei Provincial Museum

Hubei Provincial Museum
Wuhan, China

Wire twisting is a hallmark of Ming filigree work. First, a gold wire is passed through a hole drilled in one object and then inserted into a perforation in another object. Next, the wire is twisted to secure the objects together.

This hat ornament is set with seven gems on a three-tiered gold base. The bottom layer is a lotus flower in full bloom. There is a small hole between each pair of petals used to sew the ornament to the top of a hat. The middle layer is an eight-petaled lotus. The top layer uses the twisted-wire method to secure a highly-transparent, pale-yellow sapphire to the base. The gold wires are secured at the bottom of the gold base.


  • Title: Gold Hat Ornament with Pale Yellow Sapphire
  • Location: Tomb of Prince Zhuang of Liang, Zhongxiang City, Hubei Province
  • Medium: Gold and Precious Stones
  • Excavation Date: 2001
  • Dynasty: Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644
  • Dimensions: Height: 4.8cm, base diameter: 5.2cm, weight: 41.3g

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