Hi, I was just wondering if you have had a pos…

Hi, I was just wondering if you have had a post regarding those metal things men in pre Qing imperial China wore over their topknots? I was wondering if you knew what they were called and if their were an indication of social rank?

Hi, thanks for the question!

By metal things – do you mean this kind of headwear?:


If so, I actually do have a post on the various types of traditional male headwear here, and I have a mens headwear tag for more on the subject.

This headwear is a Guan/冠 (headdress), which can cover either the full top of the head or just the topknot, and makes use of a hairpin which goes across the topknot to stabilize itself. The type of Guan you’re asking about is probably the Xiao Guan/小冠 (small Guan), which can come in various shapes, as long as it is the size fitting to that of a topknot. (Source)

Here’s a nifty collage showing the Xiaoguan in the TV drama Nirvana In Fire (the middle one and the ones circled in red are Xiaoguan; the rest are a different type of Guan called Long Guan/笼冠):


Male headwear is absolutely an indication of social rank. Guan occupy the highest rank, and were worn by men of status, such as royals, nobles, and officials (they are also worn for weddings and ceremonies in general). Different types of Guan signified different occupations, occasions, and positions in society.

Hope this helps! 🙂