Rong Hua/绒花: “Velvet flowers”
A traditional Chinese art form of twisting silk threads between thin wire. These would be shaped into flowers and birds. They would be made into hair ornaments and would be worn for festivals.
This art form dates back to the Qin Dynasty (221 to 206 BC) and is still made today in the Nanjing region. They became very popular in the late Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644) and the Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1912).
A modern, easily accessible, substitute are craft pipe cleaners, which are made in a similar fashion. Here are some of the hair pieces I have made:
The flowers were made from polyester (6mm) pipe cleaners that were hand dyed. The leaves were made from 15mm pipe cleaners that were trimmed to shape and ironed flat.
The phoenix is made from a variety of different sized colored pipe cleaners.
They were inspired from extant examples at the Palace Museum, Beijing, and art work from the Ming Dynasty