Restored by Deidre Chisholm, c1978
Silk papier mache, hand cut mirrors
Please contact the Bendigo Chinese AssociationCopyright
Bendigo Chinese Association
This is a banner top, from the Golden Dragon Museum’s collection of processional regalia used in the Bendigo Easter Fair processions, and dates from the 1880s.
Elaborate banners, featuring eye-catching emblems associated with the Eight Immortals of Chinese mythology, were imported from China by the Bendigo Chinese community from the 1870s, to be used in the Bendigo Easter Fair procession. These banners were supported by poles, upon which the banner top was placed.
This banner top features six ornate entwined dragons, with butterflies and clouds. These are symbols that relate to Chinese mythology: dragons, loong, symbolise male vigour and fertility; butterlies, hu die, are emblems of a lover sipping nectar; and the clouds signify good fortune and happiness.
The Golden Dragon Museum is guardian to exquisite examples of historic fan banners and banner tops that survive from Bendigo's early processions. Combining papier mâche, carved wood, mirrors, gilding, filigree work, faux jewels, woven silk and silk embroidery, gold couching and feathers, their intricate details showcase various traditional skills, some now rare or no longer practised in China today. (Text taken from The 1880s Processional Regalia of the Bendigo Chinese Association, Golden Dragon Museum, 2010).
The Chinese arrived in Bendigo, Victoria, during the 1850s gold rush. In 1854, it was estimated that over 4,000 Chinese were on the gold fields. In 1871, the Chinese community joined the Bendigo Easter Fair and Procession (which began in 1869) to assist fundraising for charity. Providing music, theatre and acrobatic displays, the Chinese section of the Procession soon became the main attraction. This remarkable collection of 19th Century processional regalia has been preserved by the Chinese community in Bendigo and is held in the Golden Dragon Museum. It is not only a collection of world significance but, importantly, it contextualises and preserves the living heritage of both Victoria and China through the objects and through the ceremonies that continue to be practised today.
The banner top