Thursday, August 10, 2017

Chinese artifacts donated by Elvin and Ruth Hoy

The Horner Collection of the Benton County Historical Museum contains over 140 objects from China.  A number of them were donated by Elvin A. and Ruth Hoy.  Mr. Hoy graduated from Oregon State University in 1924 with a degree in engineering.  After some advanced study at Stanford and the University of California, he joined the faculty of the University of Hawaii.  There he met Ruth Yap, who was also teaching mathematics at the university after earning her bachelor's and master's degrees there.  Later Mr. Hoy was the principal mathematician in the review and analysis division of the Army and Ruth was a professor of mathematics at Marymount College in Arlington, VA.  They accumulated many treasured items including costumes given them by Princess Der Ling and objects that had been handed down in the family.  After visits to Corvallis for alumni events, they chose the Horner Museum over others which already had large collections of similar objects.

Ruth wrote about the child's headdress that they were donating:
"We wore these when we were dressed up for celebrations (as a little girl) especially at New Year's when we went with parents to visit relatives and friends.  It was a great occasion and well-remembered because the children were given money wrapped in red paper call li-shee."

A second female head-covering donated by the Hoys is this bridal phoenix crown from 1900. A piece of red silk would be draped over the bride's head and this crown tied on with a red ribbon. Red is the color for weddings in Chinese culture as it represents merriment and rejoicing and is said to bring good luck. The crown is decorated with blue kingfisher feathers, a custom which began during the Han dynasty (206BCE-220 CE). String of beads from a curtain hiding the bride’s eyes to emphasize her modesty.

This bridal crown was a gift to Ruth Hoy.  I wonder if she wore it when she married Elvin Hoy in this church in Honolulu, Hawaii.
First Chinese Church of Christ - Honolulu, HI
By Martha Fraundorf, Volunteer for Benton County Historical Society, Philomath, Oregon


No comments:

Post a Comment