Chinese Wedding Dress

In Ancient China, wedding ceremony can be described as the most important event in life. It’s natural that bride’s and groom’s dress are grand and unique. Wedding dress has a unified standard for color, style and meaning for the purpose of adding atmosphere and expressing good wishes.

Wedding dress varied in different dynasties. With the emergence of formal attire in Western Zhou Dynasty (1046B.C.-771B.C.), wedding dress came into being. Three main wedding dress styles appeared in the past several thousand years as shown below.

wedding dress of Zhou Dynasty, the groom’s “Jue Bian”, and the bride’s Chun Yi Xun Ran

Wedding dress of Western Zhou Dynasty advocated solemn style which differed greatly from the future wedding dress. Wedding dress followed Xuan Xun institution. The color of wedding dress was black and crimson red. Officials, nobles and royalties followed this institution until the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-589). The groom’s dress was called “Jue Bian”, Xuan Guan, Xuan Duan, Xuan Lv. The bride’s dress was known as Chun Yi Xun Ran, namely in black.

wedding dress of Tang Dynasty in Chai Dian Li Yi institution

Wedding dress of Tang Dynasty (618-907) combined the sacred and solemn element in previous dynasties with joyful element in later dynasties. The groom was in crimson and wore Liang Coronet. The bride’s dress was green. In late Tang Dynasty, bride’s wedding dress was developed from the costume of women who were given ranks by the emperor (Ming Fu) into Chai Dian Li Yi. Chai Dian dress had many layers and a loose overcoat was over it. Bride wore hairpins and put Huadian on the forehead. The complex Chai Dian Li Yi was simplified after the Five Dynasties (907-960).

wedding dress of Ming Dynasty with Ming Fu dress

In Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), when ordinary people had wedding ceremony, men were allowed to wear the nine ranks of official dress, red hat, gown and mandarin jacket. Women could wear Ming Fu dress, coronet, embroidered robe and jade waistband.

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