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Fashion of the different Chinese dynasties


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#1 findmyselfin

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 01:44 PM

Now I'm sure there are fashion differences in all dynasties but specifically what were the hanfu differences of the tang and ming and han and song? Where the designs changed in every dynasty? I've seen many hanfu designs but sometimes I wonder were they even part of dynasties or were they made for martial arts movies or something. How did the shoes they wore differ? I've seen the shoes with the top sticking up like a boat or something. The crowns the kings wore and queens wore were different no? The crown and even hanfu or possible it wasn't a hanfu they were of the emperors of the tang and ming dynasty were different? Were the empresses really wearing big hair up-do or did they all wear a crown? Was that all for movies and tv shows? How was the fashion? Everytime I've seen a book on chinese fashion it's always in the qing dynasty. So for research I want to ask any of those who might know the answer about the other dynasties other than qing and the fashion of those dynasties.

#2 JohnD

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 01:57 PM

Here's a start: http://en.wikipedia....hinese_clothing

#3 findmyselfin

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 11:29 PM

I've read that before. But the things they don't specify on or show exactly is how they were different. I've seen the kings have different outfits with the differing dynasties. With the documentaries and different movies all depicting different things. Obviously though the movies are more of a story than accurate portrayal. The thing is with all the books the seem to always focus on the clothing of the qing dynasty but either way I guess pictures are probably a better source than anything else at this point. thank you though I'll use that as a reference for now. Sometimes I'm not sure if I should trust wikipedia since anyone can write stuff but they seem to have good information about certain things.

Edited by findmyselfin, 16 January 2010 - 11:30 PM.


#4 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 11:24 AM

Now I'm sure there are fashion differences in all dynasties but specifically what were the hanfu differences of the tang and ming and han and song? Where the designs changed in every dynasty? I've seen many hanfu designs but sometimes I wonder were they even part of dynasties or were they made for martial arts movies or something. How did the shoes they wore differ? I've seen the shoes with the top sticking up like a boat or something. The crowns the kings wore and queens wore were different no? The crown and even hanfu or possible it wasn't a hanfu they were of the emperors of the tang and ming dynasty were different? Were the empresses really wearing big hair up-do or did they all wear a crown? Was that all for movies and tv shows? How was the fashion? Everytime I've seen a book on chinese fashion it's always in the qing dynasty. So for research I want to ask any of those who might know the answer about the other dynasties other than qing and the fashion of those dynasties.


Your question is really broad, as it can be covered in an entire book. Are you referring to hanfu for women or men? Is the hanfu for rich aristocrats/bureaucrats or for scholars, or for commoners ? They are all different and can be rather complex.

Basically, hats or crown can only be worn by rich aristocrats or bureaucrats. They were a symbol of status and political power. Scholars typically wore a turban.

Clothings of Han, Tang, Song and Ming were all different. But you can tell the difference from the hat or crown worn. I normally judge the period through the hats/crowns worn.

Maybe, I'll start off with the pictures of hanfu of aristocrats or bureaucrats for Han, Tang, Song and Ming.

Han dynasty

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Han Emperor in the drama series Hanwu Dadi - notice his typical crown known as "mian 冕" (which has a similar design from Qin till Tang dynasty)

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Pictures of Han Bureaucrats (court officials)

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Picture of a Han bureaucrat (on the left) and the Han emperor (on the right - wearing a tall hat known as "guan 冠" (which has a similar design from Han till 3 kingdoms period)

Tang Dynasty

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Tang Emperor Li Shimin - portrait. Notice that Tang Emperors or bureaucrats typically like to wear gowns instead of hanfu. That's because they were partially descendants of northern nomads (Xianbei tribes), who love to ride horses. In fact, riding horse was a fashionable transportation means during Tang period. Gowns were typically more convenenient for horse-riding compared to hanfu.
Notice that Tang was differentiated by their hat with two flaps (falling down). This hat is known as Wusha Hat 乌纱帽. It started from Tang period and continued on till Song and Ming. But there are differences in Song hat and Ming hat. The two flaps for Song hat were typically horizontally straight and long. The two flaps for Ming was very similar to Ming, but were shaped more like two fans.


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Hanfu worn by the Tang Emperor. It was only during formal occasion or in court when Hanfu was worn. Note that the Tang Emperor had several types of crown. On most formal ritual, the crown is quite similar to that of Han. But the above crown was for normal court meeting.

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Tang bureaucrats - notice his hat was quite similar to the design of some Japanese traditional hat worn. He's wearing a court hanfu.

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Tang bureaucrats wearing a gown with his hat showing two flaps pointing down.



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"夫君子之行:靜以修身,儉以養德;非淡泊無以明志,非寧靜無以致遠。" - 諸葛亮

One should seek serenity to cultivate the body, thriftiness to cultivate the morals. If you are not simple and frugal, your ambition will not sparkle. If you are not calm and cool, you will not reach far. - Zhugeliang

#5 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 11:27 AM

Song dynasty

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Song Emperor Zhao Kuang Yin - notice he also wore gowns and hats with two flaps. But the flaps for Song dynasty are horizontally straight. The long straight flaps for bureaucrats were designed to prevent bureaucrats from evesdropping or gossiping during court session.

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Song bureaucrats clothings

Ming dynasty


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Ming Emperor Zhu Di wearing a gown and hat

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Ming Emperor with his unique Ming dynasty crown (wearing hanfu)

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Ming dynasty bureaucrats - with his hat with 2 flaps shaped like two fans.
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"夫君子之行:靜以修身,儉以養德;非淡泊無以明志,非寧靜無以致遠。" - 諸葛亮

One should seek serenity to cultivate the body, thriftiness to cultivate the morals. If you are not simple and frugal, your ambition will not sparkle. If you are not calm and cool, you will not reach far. - Zhugeliang

#6 polar_zen

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 02:51 PM

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This portrait of Kublai Khan looks like he's wearing a Hanfu. Did the Yuan court mostly wear Mongol clothing or did they adopt the Song form of dress?
"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." - Aldous Huxley

#7 asianfashionlife

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 02:55 AM

Notice that Tang was differentiated by their hat with two flaps (falling down). This hat is known as Wusha Hat 乌纱帽. It started from Tang period and continued on till Song and Ming. But there are differences in Song hat and Ming hat. The two flaps for Song hat were typically horizontally straight and long. The two flaps for Ming was very similar to Ming, but were shaped more like two fans.




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