29 August 2013

Tiara Thursday: The Meiji Scroll Tiara

The Meiji Scroll Tiara
One of the oldest (perhaps the oldest) tiaras currently in use in the Japanese imperial collection is this one: a diamond tiara with base of scrolls that support a series of large single diamonds. Those single diamonds can be removed, and the tiara can be worn without them (as seen on Empress Kōjun below) or with a series of diamond star brooches attached (as seen on Empress Shōken).
Empress Shōken (left), Empress Teimei (right)
It's said to be a Chaumet tiara dating from about 1885 or so, and indeed it can be seen gracing the head of each empress in the modern era from Empress Shōken on. Shōken (1849-1914) was the wife of the Meiji emperor, who reigned from 1867 to 1912. During the Meiji era, Japan became more open to Western influence - including the introduction of tiaras like this one, which were not a part of traditional Japanese dress.
Empress Kōjun
The tiara has been passed to each empress since the Meiji era. It was worn by Empress Teimei (1884-1951), the wife of the Taishō emperor, and then by Empress Kōjun (1903-2000), wife of the Shōwa emperor (also known as Emperor Hirohito, the previous emperor). It is today worn by Empress Michiko, wife of the current emperor, Akihito.
Empress Michiko
Like the Imperial Chrysanthemum Tiara, it is a tiara for the empress alone. Michiko has three tiaras she uses as empress (this, the Chrysanthemum, and her honeysuckle tiara), but we don't see her in a tiara that often. Which is a shame, because this is a beautiful tiara with a design that never ages, and I'd love to see it more - it may just be my favorite Japanese tiara.

Is this your favorite Japanese tiara?

Photos: IHA/Wikipedia/Corbis