A Chinese Mandarin silk wind hat, embroidered with dragons and roundels with cranes, border with tassels. Internally with metal stiffener. C. 1900. L. excl. tassels c. 73 cm.
Provenance: Director General of the Chinese Postal Service Erik Tollefsen (later named To Lo-sen) 1872–1938. He came to China in 1896, where he worked in Customs but later became engaged in the Post Office Services and remained in China until 1932.
One day a message came from the court where Tollefsen had been named Mandarin of the third-highest order. He was told what the Mandarin rank badge and hat should look like. It was a great honour, and no Europeans had previously achieved such a rank.