The tiny kingfisher bird was highly prized for its iridescent blue feathers, which were used to create headdresses and hair ornaments for the exclusive use of court women during the 18th and 19th centuries. Two examples of headdresses of this type are in the Palace Museum Beijing, exhibited Jewelry and Accessories of the Royal Consorts of Ching Dynasty, Beijing, 1992, nos. 3 and 4. Another is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, illustrated by Stephen W. Bushell, Chinese Art, London 1924, vol. II, fig. 108. Similar headdresses were sold in our New York rooms, 26 March 2003, lot 76 and March 2000, lot 77. Another example in our London rooms, 11 July 2006, lot 65.