Focusing on the dress and accessories of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), this book accompanies the first European exhibition of clothes, accessories and textiles from the Palace Museum, Beijing.
Sumptuous illustrations capture the grandeur of the garments worn by emperors and empresses which were made from exquisite materials of the very highest quality. Clothing systems were viewed as an important constituent of civilized society and the authors explain the relevance of the court's calendar to its formal, "official" wardrobe. In Qing dynasty China there were clear rules on what to wear on different occasions. Official dress was worn when the emperor performed sacrifices at the Temple of Heaven and at other important rituals. Festive dress was for birthdays, weddings, festivals and imperial banquets. Military dress for troop inspection; traveling dress for hunting and royal visits to provinces, and regular dress for events of a non-celebrative nature, such as fasting and anniversaries of the deaths of imperial ancestors. Every detail of these outfits is explained, from the hats down to the boots. The importance of colour and symbolism in the official attire is detailed, including the Twelve Symbols that were worn by the Emperor alone. When not performing public duties, however, the imperial family could choose freely which garments to wear - and this book also illustrates these more casual clothes with colourful and stunning fashion dresses made for the court ladies, particularly following 1862, when new-style robes were created for the fashion-conscious Empress Dowager Cixi and her entourage.
Published by V & A Publishing, UK, United Kingdom, 2010
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