Whether you love opera or not, the Hermes TURANDOT carre is a Must-Have for any serious Hermes Scarf Collector.
Designed by Natsuno Hidaka, the Turandot carre was issued as part of the 2002 Fall/Winter Collection.
Most of us know Turandot as Puccini’s unfinished opera. Cold hearted princess, Turandot, asks her suitors to solve three riddles in order to gain permission to marry her. Should a suitor not succeed, death and not the hand of the princess, will be his just reward.
The story itself, however, has much older origins. Puccini became interested in the subject matter after Schiller took a Persian legend from the twelfth century and transformed it into a play. In the original Persian version Turandot is the Daughter of a Turan, an Asian king.
Our Carre according to the HERMES write up in the 2002 scarf booklet, was contrary to popular belief, not inspired by Puccini’s opera per se, but the Persian 12th century legend itself.
According to Hermes, the Princess in the center of the scarf demands a husband who must be handsome, spirited and brave. A contest determines the winner, who then becomes her prince. Center stage seated to her right, he reigns over China with the help of four creatures, which are depicted in Madame Hidaka’s carre.
In the top right, we find the dragon, the imperial beast, the symbol of power and good luck.
In the lower right is the tortoise, who represents longevity and that which lasts.
Bottom left we spot the lion, the guarantor of success.
And finally the Empress’s mascot, the Phoenix, which represents rebirth, rises high in the upper left corner.
The artist, Natsuno Hidaka, has had a long tenure at Hermes, which started in the mid 1970s. I believe she was also instrumental in the design of several Hermes ties and her elephants from her 1982 tie design have been copied many times since.
All in all, she has designed four fabulous es scarves. Her first carre L’Heure du Printemps was issued in 1998, followed by Turandot in 2002. Lumières de Paris was introduced in 2006 and her last to date, the Ballade de Heian, premiered in 2009.
Her Turandot has gained an unprecedented following worldwide. It is a much loved and sought after carre, that has definitely earned the distinguished GRAIL moniker.