This is my favorite of all the bizarre headdresses, a style once worn by China’s Long-horn Miao minority, according to the Internet reference. It is of natural hair saved by the women and by many generations of their long-dead ancestors. Instead of throwing away their loose hair when they comb it, these women save the strands and add them to their collection. Some of the hair is hundreds of years old. I assume it has been dyed to a uniform color. The hair is woven around a horn-shaped wooden form (you can see one end sticking out on the right).
I love the idea of wearing something that was once a part of a departed ancestor, and it is a good use for all of that hair that gathers in a brush and in the drain. I am hirsute-challenged, myself, so it would not work for me.
I came across this while Google-searching for a different headdress we saw on a China tour of eight years ago (click on the category “China” at the bottom of the right column, or simply click on this hyperlink). Chinese history is full of elaborate headdresses for women. Many were to differentiate minority groups. Today, they are only worn as costumes for festivals and ethnic performances for the tourists. They are so impractical, they seem designed to indicate the wearer is a woman of leisure and virtue since anything else would be impossible. This one stood out.