This is my favorite object in the show: a Chinese headdress from around 1900, worn by either a bride or a noblewoman at the imperial court. It's ornamented with brilliant blue kingfisher feathers and a heck of a lot of other fancy stuff, if you'll excuse my highbrow museum parlance. You can easily spot flowers made of pearls and tourmalines and a couple of phoenix birds with pearl strands on their wings. They bounce on springs to liven things up.
But can you find me a bat?
Lots going on, but no bats.
I spent most of stormy Sunday afternoon scrutinizing my photos to find the bats that are allegedly on this thing. It began asa tiny part of my writing assignment and progressed to an obsession.
Bats are good-luck symbols in China, and they can be very stylized in appearance, but they still look like bats with, you know, tiny bodies and batwings. Some look like cartoon bats, Batman bats. But I see nothing on this baby that looks anything like a bat. Go and examine it for yourself. If you can tell me where the bats are, I'll buy you a cupcake.
By the way, Possum was no use to me. He couldn't get past the kingfisher feathers. "Birds should be eaten, not worn," says Possy. I explained that kingfishers became extinct in China because their feathers were used for jewelry. "Entirely the wrong reason," he said. "I'm sure they were tasty. Blueberry-flavored feathers. What a waste!" I should mention that he has been more helpful on other jewelry topics. I have no idea where he picks up his information, unless he's been reading my library books, which I find on the floor....
Right side: A bat-free zone.
Left side: Nary a bat.