Nantong Foremost Garments & Accessories Co., Ltd.
Nantong Foremost Garments & Accessories Co., Ltd.

Unveiling Crowned Elegance: Tiger Hat

Nantong Foremost Garments & Accessories Co., Ltd. Updated Apr. 26,2024

The tiger hat is often regarded as a distinct symbol of Chinese culture, but it actually has its origins in the cultural exchange between China and the West.

The inspiration for the tiger hat can be traced back to the legendary Greek hero Hercules, who was known for his immense strength and his conquest of a fierce lion. Many depictions of Hercules show him wearing a lion-head hat and wielding a large club, symbolizing his bravery. During King Alexander of Macedonia's expedition that brought Greek culture to the East, the image of Hercules as a mighty demigod and revered hero spread throughout history and across coun- tries. As Buddhist art made its way to China, the depiction of Hercules wearing a lion-headed cap was also transmitted. Since lions are not native to China, the powerful and fierce lion gradually transformed into the image of a local tiger, and the lion-headed cap evolved into a tiger cap.


From then on, the tiger-headed cap became a part of traditional children's clothing in China. Elders would often gift tiger caps to younger gen- erations as a symbol of affection. When children wear these caps, they not only look lively and cute but also exude a sense of majesty. Tigers have long held a deep awe in Chinese culture, and the image of the tiger cap has become a symbol of elders' wishes for children to grow up healthy.


During the late Qing Dynasty and the early Repub- lic of China, when living standards for Chinese civilians were deteriorating due to the influence of imperialist powers, the child survival rate was alarmingly low. To counteract this, people began to believe that tigers could ward off evil spirits. The character " 虎 " ("tiger") in the tiger-headed cap also sounds similar to the character " 护 " ("protection" in Chinese), thus reinforcing the belief in the cap's protective powers. Conse- quently, during this period, a large number of tiger caps were produced. Newborns would wear these caps at one month of age, and they would continue to wear them as they grew up, serving as protective charms to ensure their health and vitality while warding off disasters and evil spirits.


The tiger caps that have been handed down to the present day mostly originated from the late Qing Dynasty to the Republic of China period. The production of these caps involves intricate embroi- dery techniques, with each stitch symbolizing the boundless love of elders towards children and their beautiful wishes for their future lives. In many parts of China, the traditional tiger caps and tiger shoes, known for their distinctive features, have been recognized as intangible cultural heritage.

Today, the tiger hat has become a cultural symbol and a collective intangible cultural heritage treasured by people worldwide.

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