An art gallery in Paris has turned to ‘winged’ headwear inspired by an ancient Chinese dynasty to ensure its visitors respect coronavirus social distancing rules as they peruse the displays.
The colourful papier-mâché hats are modelled on headgear from the Song dynasty, which ruled China between 960 and 1279, with extensions just long enough to keep wearers the one metre (three feet) apart stipulated in France’s coronavirus regulations.
The first Song emperor is said to have ordered his officials to wear winged hats, which we know by the name of Futou so that they could not gossip without being heard. We don’t know how much of this story is true, but this hat style, or some variations of it, was prevalent among many of Asian monarchs from Vietnam to Korea and Japan.
While the Song Dynasty hats were made from bamboo and metal, students at the school used balloons, cardboard tubes, wooden sticks and whatever else they could find at home to build theirs.
“This was our own creative idea. It helps us promote our slogan: Wear a one-metre hat, keep a one-metre distance,” the school’s vice principal Hong Feng said.