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photograph of current display in the Grand Vestibule

A display highlighting the interaction between the monarchy and the wider world

Siamese

Pair of Shears c.1850-57

RCIN 62120

Grand Vestibule, Windsor Castle

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A pair of Siamese semi-circular cloisonné enamel gold combs, with bone teeth; the handles with flame-like finials.These combs, and the scissors which were presented with them (RCIN 62120), are princely examples of items used for the Sokan or tonsur

Pair of combs ©

These shears and combs are princely versions of items used for the tonsure ceremony which all Siamese boys underwent between the ages of 11 and 13. During the ceremony, the topknot of their hair was cropped to mark the transition to manhood. King Rama IV’s own tonsure ceremony took place in 1817 and lasted seven days.

These objects were sent to Queen Victoria by King Rama IV of Siam (King Mongkut) and presented by his ambassadors at Windsor Castle on 19 November 1857.