Scholarly Vigil Robes

My entire vigil and elevation was planned around the concept of someone passing their civil exams in order to take a position as an official within the imperial bureaucracy. For me, my elevation to the order was as much if not more so about the new role that I was taking on, in addition to the honor of the accolade itself. I found the scholar to official journey to be a good analog for this transition.

It’s not uncommon for someone’s vigil robes to signify contemplation or cleansing before their vigil. White is commonly seen in vigil garb and, across cultures, is associated with solemnity (it is the color of mourning in many eastern cultures) religious sanctity, and purity.

Scholars who would travel to Chang’an (the capital city of the Tang Dynasty) to for the annual conferrals of jinshi degrees, the final and highest degree in the civil exam framework (sound familiar?). This group was recognizable by the plain hempen robes they wore – and were called mayi (hemp-clad), buyi (cloth-clad), or baipao (white-robed).1 The word jiehe (“doffing of the coarse clothes”) described the occasion when scholar was assigned to an official post. High-ranking officials were called “vermillion-robed” (fifth rank or above) or “purple-robed” (third rank or above).

I wanted to follow this same narrative of transformation and accepting of a post, along with the colorless, un-dyed hemp robes as a symbol of anticipation of a new identity, especially since the metaphor of transformation was prevalent in literature of the time when discussing this event in someone’s life2.

I used lightweight, natural linen to make my scholar’s robes, which I based off the yuán lǐng páo 圓領袍 (圓領袍, “round-collared robe”) that was worn by men regardless of rank or status – the only sumptuary prescriptions on them were length, fabric, and color 3.

My first attempt at a yuán lǐng páo.

Before I cut into my un-dyed linen, I used some red cotton that I had been given to make a prototype. I’d only made one other robe before this, out of black quilting cotton, as a way to test the layers and closures, and to learn things.

I used similar construction “rules” when patterning my yuán lǐng páo – a center back seam, no shoulder seam, attached collar, sleeves, and cuffs. Because the robe closes with a button and loop at the collar, there are two panels sewn to the center front, one for each side, which curve to match the neckline and overlap with each other. Since this wasn’t intended as a high-class garment, I kept the sleeve width narrow. I also made a cross-collar undershirt (裋褐, shùhè) to wear with the robe, as the under layer’s collar can often be seen beneath the rounded collar. I chose to purchase linen pants to finish out the outfit, since I haven’t prototyped proper Tang Dynasty pants yet. I also purchased boots from Taobao via Bhiner.

To draft my robe, I took the following measurements:

  • A: edge of neck to hem (knee)
  • B: shoulder point to cuff
  • C: chest circumference (bust)
  • D: neck circumference
  • E: waist
  • F: shoulder point to hip, over bust
  • G: back of neck to shoulder
  • H: back of neck to collarbone/collar
  • I: shoulder to waist, over bust

In a modern, fitted garment, the length measurements (like A, F, and I) would be different for the front of the garment versus the back, because of the bust. But this robe is seen in art bloused at the waist – pulled out a bit so that it hangs – so I wasn’t concerned about extra fabric at the back.

The pattern consists of seven pieces in total, several of them mirrors of one another: two body panels, two front panels, two sleeves, and one collar. I chose not to line my robe, but if I had or ever do in the future, I believe that flat-lining it would be the best option. I also kept the sleeve one piece instead of adding an extra cuff, though that is something I could certainly do in the future.

Diagram of my robe. Click to embiggen.

To assemble my robe, I first stitched the center back seam together, then joined the sleeves to the body panels. Next I stitched the front panels into pairs (center front to center front), then stitched to the body panels. I then hemmed the sleeve cuffs and the edges of the front panels. I had to tweak the front panels a bit so that they would properly align with the curve of the collar, but that wasn’t difficult. I attached the collar (a single piece of rectangular fabric) by first stitching it on with right-sides together, then pressing it up and folding it down toward the inside, then pressing the inside edge up and hand-sewing it so that it covers the seam. I left the ends open so that I could attach loops made from simple tubes of fabric sewn and turned, and I used my dress form to determine where to attach the fabric buttons. Lastly, I stiched the side seams and sleeves closed, adding a set of ties at waist level to hold the inner front panel closed. I finished all my seams by flat felling and stitching them down with a slip stitch.

Once I had my red prototype done, I set about making another robe out of my natural linen.

For the shirt, I used my basic shirt pattern but adjusted the front panels so that it would be a cross-collar shirt instead of parallel. I had to make some adjustments once I had it sewn up to accomodate my bust, and I’m still not really happy with how the collar lays. I want to do some more experimenting with this before I finalize my pattern, and I also feel that the collar could stand some interfacing to help it lie flat. In period, this could have been an additional layer(s) of (perhaps coarser) fabric like horsehair. The waist ties are attached at the side seams and the ends of the collar pieces, which I also need to do more experimenting with in order to get them positioned so that the panels lay nicely across the chest.

I had some pretty intense thread-chicken moments.

To belt my robe, I used the legacy apprentice belt I was given by my Laurel, and originated with Master Allan of Moffat.

Illustration by 逆名 [blog] of various cloth headwear, and their more structured derivatives.

The term (jīn, cloth) is a broad term for cloth headwear. The basic headwear for masculine dress in the Tang Dynasty was the 幞头 (fú tóu, cloth turban). A stiffened, woven basket provided more structure and helped maintain shape once the cloth was tied on. I used a piece of black linen from my stash, X by Y, and hemmed all the edges. In future, I’d like to make a fú tóu using a lighter weight linen cloth, or a lightweight silk.

Me, along with my Laurel Mistress Una Bardsdottir and Mistress Wuennemen, who looked amazing in their ruqun, at my vigil.
  1. Feng, L. R. (2015). City of marvel and transformation: Changan and narratives of experience in Tang Dynasty China. (Ebook). Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Benn, C. (2002). Daily life in traditional China: The Tang Dynasty. Westport, CT: Greenwood. p. 100

Elevation Bling – Accessory Artisan Appreciation

Some incredibly kind and gifted artisans made the various hair jewelry and accessories that I wore for my elevation.

My elevation mask, painstakingly painted by Seong Myeong Su Daegam Daesaseong.

The incredibly talented (and recently elevated!) Seong Myeong Su Daegam Daesaseong painted the red silk fabric that would become my face mask, based on a piece of embroidered silk from the Tang Dynasty featuring florals and ducks. She used the same technique she used for the rank badges on her danryeong. I highly encourage you to read more about her work over at Gold and Jade.

Her Excellency Caterina Angelique Coeur Noir made me a wonderfully repousse brass comb that served as my central hair accessory. It features a dragon (which is in my badge) and some pearled osmanthus flowers. She doesn’t have an SCA blog, but you can see her work on Facebook.

Comb by Her Excellency Caterina Angelique Coeur Noir

The Honorable Lady Sara al-Garnatiyya etched the two side combs and attached them to pre-made teeth, designing them to serve as complements to the central comb. You can see more of her metal and enamel work on her blog.

Combs by The Honorable Lady Sara al-Garnatiyya

Countess/Laurel Gwenhwyvar verch Owen ap Morgan (Northshield) made the wonderful hairpins that Mistress Una Barthrsdottir, Mistress Wuennemon die Naehrin, and Countess Aelfgifu Haraldsdottir put in my hair as part of my ceremony. I wanted to include this as a nod to the hair-pinning ceremonies that marked a new stage of live for women during the Tang Dynasty. It also meant that These large pins were meant to mimic the array seen in the donor portraits I was mimicking for my elevation outfit. She created a mirrored set of six for me, featuring laurel leaves and a squirrel, to reference my heraldry. Countess Gwen also made my peerage banner, which was a total surprise to me. You can see her work on her Patreon and on Facebook.

My amazing banner by Countess-Laurel Gwen (NS flavor). Photo courtesy of CL Gwen.

I am so incredibly thankful to all of these lovely artisans for making things for me to use during my elevation, and that enhance my overall wardrobe. They are all excellent people, and I encourage you to check out their other work.

I’ve got two more posts regarding my vigil and elevation in the queue – each about the clothing I wore for my vigil and elevation, respectively. We will be back to the usually expected content soon!

Elevated Hair

Recreation of a Dunhuang donor portrait by The Chinese Historical Costume Restoration Team.

I knew I would need to use some false hair for my elevation in order to get the look I wanted.

Quick recap – Tang Dynasty ladies loved elaborate, up-do hair styles that often called for padding or false hair (called “adopted hair”) to achieve the looks we see in statuary, murals, and paintings. For a more detailed look at the three basic kinds of hairdressing (hair, false hair, and headdresses), Zhang Jianhin’s essay in The Tomb of Li Chui is a good place to start. For images of modern recreations of these hair styles, see Hair Fashions of Tang Dynasty Women, by He, Jian’guo (何建國) or this guide to recreating historic Chinese hairstyles.

I even found a tutorial on BiliBili, China’s largest video-sharing platform (like YouTube), but when I sat down to try and make it, I was a million thumbs. I couldn’t get the hair to behave at all the way that the person in the video did, and I was getting really frustrated.

That’s when Phaedra de Vere came to my rescue. She offered to make it for me, and I gratefully accepted, sending her money and measurements and crossing it off my list, knowing that I was in good hands.

Phaedra made the hairpiece out of wire and hair donuts, covering it with layers of faux wefts color matched my (current) hair color (Arda CL-070).

The hairpiece’s bones – hair donuts that have been cut and put onto a wire frame.
No description available.
The finished hairpiece, with hair nets to fight flyaways.
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The guts of the hairpiece – space enough for me to tuck a bun into it, with an arrow indicating the front.

She’s absolutely stunning. Heavy – but stunning! And aptly now named “Phae” in honor of her creator.

Me, during the elevation ceremony. Picture courtesy Sir Conal MacDale

I’ll be writing another post about the various accessories I wore in my hair, courtesy of some truly awesome artisans.

Socks, of the Un-Fancy Variety

I’ve been contemplating Tang Dynasty socks for about a year now, and earlier this summer I finally knocked out a pair that fit me. I did my best to measure my foot in order to get the right size, looking at extant socks from the 8th century (and prior) and Seong Myeong Su’s instructions for Beoseon Socks (Korean).

My first few attempts ended up being too small to wear comfortably, particularly around the bridge of my foot.

Treasure Details - Shosoin - Imperial Household Agency
Pair of socks for Fuefuki (piper) player of Kuregaku (dance and music), No. 75, in the Shosoin Repository. Made of nishiki (colorful patterned weave silk) on purple ground. Lined with white plain weave silk.

The design of the sock is simple enough, with the top seam of the sock cut on the bias, a split at back of the ankle, and a pair of ties to secure the sock on the foot. The Shosoin Repository has two styles of socks – some shorter, and some taller socks presumably intended to be worn with boots. My plan is to wear these with my elevation shoes, since I need a thicker sock to make my boots fit.

I cut my socks out of lightweight linen and used a backstitch to sew the two pieces together, right-sides out. I turned down the top edge and the edges of the ankle split and sewed them with a slip stitch. I trimmed the seams and turned the wrong-side out and ironed the sock before stitching the seam again to enclose it. Since the seam runs down the middle of my foot, I wanted to make sure it was adequately protected from wear.

I made the ties the same way I made the ties for my banbi, only smaller, and attached them the same way as well.

Finished socks with ties.

Knowing vs. Being Skilled – Go

As I have been making notes and brain maps and other such things on Chivalric/Christian virtues, Admonitions of Peerage, Judaic ethical concepts, and the Five Constants of Confucianism, I’ve been thinking a bit about peerages in general.

Remember this bit of Corpora?

They shall have made every effort to learn and practice those skills desirable at and worthy of a civilized court. To this end they should have some knowledge of a wide range of period forms, including but not limited to literature, dancing, music, heraldry, and chess, and they should have some familiarity with combat as practiced in the Society.

SCA Governing Documents, VIII.A.1.g. [Source]

See that! CHESS!

Nobody said you had to be good at chess. Just knowledgeable and, well, practiced. I’ve never been a good chess player. I’m bad at that sort of spatial reasoning, and I have a hard time thinking several moves ahead. I enjoy chess, but as a casual player.

But as someone who has spent the last four-ish years eye-deep in the Tang Dynasty, playing chess doesn’t really fit. But playing Go does! And Go is pretty much chess. It’s about territory control and capturing enemy pieces to score points.

And I’m not good at it.

There are some excellent videos out there that walk you through the basics of a Go game and can help you wrap your head around the concepts. But understanding how a game is played and being a “good player” are two very different things.

We played Go in the Extra-European Salon at the Meridian Grand Tournament in September, and I was so very thankful that someone who was much more knowledgeable about the game helped me think through moves and played a few games with us. He recommended using puzzles to help hone your skill. I feel like I’d have to do a lot of puzzles to hammer the trickier concepts into my head, but hey – that’s Go.

There is also a free app that I have played now and again, but I’m still heavily reliant on the hint button. [Here is a list of iOS apps.]

This is one of those things that I’ll get better with in time, which means making an effort to play a bit on my phone every day, or carting around my 9×9/13×13 board and bags of stones. Maybe I’ll make a small 9×9 board on a piece of fabric and bug people at events to play with me. Maybe.

Throwing arrows at a pot is a different kind of fun, and totally a worthy and desirable skill in the upper echelons of the Tang Dynasty. (Psst. You can see a pot with its arrows in the back of a scene of scholars playing Go with Li Wei painted on a screen. But it’s a game of skill, not strategy. And involves more wine.

I’m working on some class notes for Tang Dynasty Games, which I’ll be teaching at Magna Faire – hope to see you there!

A Tale of Two (Linen) Skirts

Two linen skirts, both comparable in dignity.

I have two Tang Dynasty skirts made of linen. One is pretty pastel pink-and-purple. The other is kick-you-in-the-face orange.

The pink skirt is a split skirt, meaning that it is two panels pleated to bands with ties that are seamed at the sides, with a gap at the top so that it can be wrapped around the wearer’s waist and tied.

My pink skirt, looking kind of orange and in need of an ironing before I wear it again.

The orange skirt is a single-panel wrap skirt. It’s still a panel pleated to a band, but it is one long panel – long enough to wrap around the wearer 1.5 times, with ties at each end. It’s worn very similarly to a modern wrap skirt.

So. Much. Orange.

Here’s a (cued) video showing how to wear both kinds of skirt. (I can’t speak to the two-toned tie method’s period accuracy, since I haven’t seen ties in paintings that look like they are two colors, but it sure looks cool!)

Before I launch into the specifics regarding these two styles of skirt when they are made of linen, let’s talk about wrap and split skirts during the Tang Dynasty. The extant skirt we have from the Song Dynasty 1 and the doll-sized skirts from the Tang Dynasty 2 all appear to be of the single-panel wrap variety; however, we have some pictorial evidence of split skirts.

Detail of A Palace Concert, potentially showing evidence for the two-panel style skirt 3

Two ladies on the right side of the table in A Palace Concert appear to have split skirts, perhaps with a secondary skirt worn beneath. The lower lady, wearing a pale pink printed shirt and a pale skirt with a green tie. Deciphering what we are seeing here is a little rough, not only due to the degradation of the painting. It is possible that the split in the paler fabric of the skirt is instead the hanging piece of the lady’s skirt tie, but given the position at her underarm and the way the skirt folds move around it makes me question that theory.

Like the lady below her, the flute-player’s pale skirt is divided at the side to reveal a triangle of red fabric with some sort of design. She is also wearing a red pibo, but the shawl clearly flows down her back and across her chest as opposed to under her arm. Even if it was tucked inside her skirt’s waistband, which we occasionally see in other images, the fact that we can see it would still stand as evidence of a two-panel skirt.

In addition to A Palace Concert, ladies on the north wall of Mogao Cave 107 are wearing two skirts, the top-most of which has a very deep split.


Detail of mural on the north wall of Cave 107, showing split-style skirts, as well as skirts with horizontal stripes.4

So to the question of which is more period, there might be a distinction to be made between the two styles of skirts based on region or a narrower time period, given the fluctuation of fashion during the Tang Dynasty, but I haven’t yet dug that far to find/make that distinction. Cave 107 is dated to late Tang (827-859), while the A Palace Concert is anonymous, making it more difficult to date.

I (usually) wear linen skirts at events where I am chasing small children, because small children don’t understand that sticky applesauce or banana hands on Mama’s silk is a bad idea. But I learned something about linen skirts when I wore the orange one at Known World Costume and Fiber Arts in Georgia this summer – single panel wrap linen skirts with linen ties do not want to stay up.

This is possibly and very likely due to the weight of the linen and the way the linen-on-linen ties act. Silk is stronger, and has a bit of tooth compared to linen that helps it grip. My very first Tang Dynasty skirt had bias cut silk ribbon ties, but they weren’t heavy enough and were too slick to do the job, so my subsequent skirts had either poly-satin ribbon ties (which is fine in a pinch) or ties I made myself out of fabric tubes or folded and stitched silk.

The pink, two-panel split skirt has never slipped the same way that the orange one did. I think it’s because the weight of the skirt is split between two sets of ties. Also – in my experience, if you want to embrace the cleavage-y aspect of Tang Dynasty clothing, go with silk. My linen skirts do better if they sit at the top of your chest, so that your breasts can help support the fabric, as opposed to across the middle.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, tree and outdoor
Me, wearing the red silk skirt with the Sartor silk band that Mistress Una made for me.

The width of the ties make a difference too. I’ve noticed that my big band skirt that my Laurel, Mistress Una, made for me, tends to sag a bit at the sides. I think that if I replace the poly-satin ribbon ties with wider, silk ties (at least as wide as the band itself), I can fix this issue. As it is, the narrower ties are secured at the top of the band, meaning that the bottom of the band sags.

If you compare the photo above to the photo below, where I am wearing a skirt with a thinner waistband, the silk ties are in better proportion to the waistband, and do a much better job at… well, their job. (These are both two-panel skirts, by the way).

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, stripes, child and outdoor
Me in my stripey split panel silk skirt.

The next few events on my docket are sans children, so I think I’ll tackle the Sartor skirt first in terms of fixing stuff. Then I can figure out how to best turn a the orange wrap skirt into a split skirt, so that I can wear it around a toddler without fear of malfunction.

  1.  Zhou, X.; Gao, C. (1987). 5000 years of Chinese costumes. Hong Kong: The Commercial Press. p. 123.
  2. Chen, B. Y. (2013). Dressing for the times: Fashion in Tang Dynasty China (618-907). (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from Academic Commons. (doi: 10.7916/D8KK9B6D). p. 92.
  3. “唐人宮樂圖 (A Palace Concert).” (618-907). National Palace Museum. Retreived from https://theme.npm.edu.tw/selection/Article.aspx?sNo=04000957&lang=2.
  4. “Mogao Grottoes Cave 107.” Digital Dunhuang. Retrieved from: https://www.e-dunhuang.com/cave/10.0001/0001.0001.0107.

Child’s sock, from Musée Guimet

museeguimet:

Chaussette (ou sous-chaussure ?) d’enfant

dynastie Tang (618-90
damas, sergé, soie
Chine

© Musée Guimet, Paris, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Benjamin Soligny / Raphaël Chipault

Section Textile du musée Guimet

So apparently the Musée Guimet’s tumblr is now defunct. This post is originally from December 29, 2013. This is me testing this to see if I can cite the reblog… Because you always cite your stuff. <3

Debunking the “Hezi-Qun”

I’ve been working on an overhaul of my garb documentation, which is turning into this massively long thing that will be my “handout” at Known World Costume and Fiber. I finished this section this week, and thought I should share it here. Enjoy!

There is a popular theory in online hanfu communities, both predominantly Chinese-speaking and English-speaking, that the hezi  (upper undergarment during the Tang Dynasty) was worn so that it was visible. To support this there are three images that are usually pointed to as evidenece: the painting Court Ladies Wearing Flowered Headdresses, attributed to Zhou Fang (c. 730–800), the relief carvings and paintings of female attendants and musicians in the tomb of Wang Chuzhi (863-923), and murals from the Dunhuang Cave 61 (10th century).

EDIT: I recognize that these sources don’t fully fall within Tang, and are more likely Five Dynasties & Ten Kingdoms (though we don’t have solid date on when Court Ladies was painted), but since they are used to argue for a Tang Dynasty fashion/item, I’m looking at them in that context. Fashion is, as we know, fluid. Thanks!

The theory holds that the hezi was worn either so that the skirt was tied so that the top was visible, or else worn on top of the skirt.

Before we look at the images, let’s take a moment to talk about the hezi
in a more general sense. First of all, we don’t know a lot. We don’t have any extants. The only images we have are artistic renderings that all follow the same idea of a tube-shaped garment with a curved front neckline that stops at the hip and has some sort of band or tie under the bust. The two best sources I have been able to find for Chinese undergarments are Fantasy Beyond Body 1 and Jamie Johns’s unofficial Fulbright blog about the history of breast binding in China. 2 Johns looks at Chinese language sources on the history of Chinese undergarments and makes the same observation many of us have (which Fantasy Beyond Body is also indicative of) – the lack of solid citations. Fantasy Beyond Body at least will say where something was excavated from – most of the time. It doesn’t for the Tang garments it proposes.

So there is a lot of speculation, which is probably why the Hezi-Qun theory got footing in the first place, spurred on, no doubt, by the fun costumes from Chinese historical dramas.

The Empress of China (simplified Chinese: 武媚娘传奇) is a 2014 Chinese television drama based on events in 7th and 8th-century Tang dynasty, starring producer Fan Bingbing as the titular character Wu Zetian—the only female emperor in Chinese history.
But honestly? Even this screenshot of Zhang Ting as Consort Wei from the Empress of China looks like what some would say is the Hezi-Qun is just the band of her skirt. But that slight sweetheart neckline is … no. Sorry, Noble Consort. (And don’t get me started on the robe thing.)

Advocates of the theory claim that the hezi is a wide strip of cloth (based on images, approximately 5-6″ wide) that is worn on top of the skirt. A cloth tie is then tied on top of it to hide the border between the hezi and the skirt. But… based on how Tang Dynasty skirts are made…. why would you do this? Even some modern hanfu manufacturers attach this so-called hezi to the skirt, effectively making it a decorative band. Then again, I have no idea how these skirts are constructed (I’ve never bought one to fiddle with), so I’m not sure what’s actually going on with the ties.

We should also note, before going any further, that Johns discusses two different Chinese-language sources on her blog, both of which use the term 亵衣 (xie yi, “obscene clothing”) to refer to undergarments.3 So the notion that such a intimate and taboo item of clothing would be worn in plain view doesn’t jive for me – not even during High Tang (c. 713-766) when the party was still going strong, women had unprecedented freedom of expression, and life was generally pretty swanky if you were an aristocrat. Also, all the example images are either from High Tang or after.

Instead, I believe that what others are interpreting as a visible hezi is rather an elaborately decorated, curved, or scalloped skirt band.

Let’s look at some images.

In Court Ladies Wearing Flowered Headdresses, there is a clear seam line below the twisted skirt tie. The skirt tie sits on top of the band, and the seam appears to be between the band and the pleated skirt, thus dismissing the notion that the decorated and curved-edged skirt band is instead an undergarment.

The placement of the skirt band is lower in the stone relief from Wang Chuzhi’s tomb, covering where this seam would be in some instances and falling below it in others. The skirt bands here are scalloped, and again, I see no evidence that they are separate garments worn on top of the skirt. They have been painted a different color, as has the band in a mural from the same tomb, but in the mural, the seam between the skirt and the band is obscured by the woman’s hands and the bowl she carries, making this evidence inconclusive.

Painted stone relief from Wang Chuzhi’s tomb. [Source]
Mural from Wang Chuzhi’s tomb. [Source]

There are two poses the women on the southwestern and southeastern walls of Cave 61 at Dunhuang. Some women are holding offerings while others are not. Clear images of both are difficult to find online that are not reproductions or artistic renderings, and the image I was able to pull from the digital panorama of the cave is fuzzy. Still, the decorative band at the top of the skirt is visible on both the figures to the right in the first image, and I believe the lower tie on the figure wearing the phoenix crown is not her skirt tie, but additional ornamentation. It should also be noted that the two rightmost figures in the first image are (from left to right) the mother of a Cao Yuanzhong, King of Guiyi, and the Great Empress of Khotan and daughter of Cao Yinjin. Both of these women are part of the Guiyi royal family, a kingdom subordinate to the Tang and Northern Song Dynasties. 4 5 We might be seeing some Khotanese influence in their clothing.

The southeastern wall of Cave 61. [Source]
Screenshot from the digital panoramic view of Cave 61, showing the attendant ladies to the donor’s wife on the southwestern wall. [Source]

Okay, so what IS the hezi?

After staring at extant garments from the Song and Yuan Dynasties and all the descriptions of the Tang Dynasty hezi I can find, my best guess is that the hezi was a tubular garment made of a heavier weight silk, 6 potentially lined, 7 and closed with buttons 8. No artistic rendering of the hezi includes these buttons, but the 合欢襟 (hehuanjin, Yuan Dynasty) has “flower buttons” in the front 9. These may be more like frog and loop clasps than what we would think of as “buttons,” given that the buttons used to fasten the collars of round-collared robes are cloth with loops.

Am I 100% right on this? Doubtfully. Am I going to try to make a hezi with buttons and see how it works? You bet your bippy I am.

  1. 潘建华著. (2005). 云缕心衣 : 中国古代内衣文化. 上海: 上海古籍出版社. | Pan Jianhua zhu. (2005) Fantasy beyond body: the civilization of Chinese underwear in ancient times. Shanghai: Shanghai Ancient Books Publishing House. ISBN: 7532540944
  2. Johns, J. (2010 Oct – 2010 Dec). We drive east. WordPress. Retrieved from: https://wedriveeast.wordpress.com/
  3. Johns, J. (4 June 2011). “China’s Disappearing Clothing.” We drive east. WordPress. Retrieved from: https://wedriveeast.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/chinas-disappearing-clothing/
  4. “Mogao Grottoes Cave 061.” Digital Dunhuang. Retrieved from: https://www.e-dunhuang.com/cave/10.0001/0001.0001.0061
  5. Liu Mu-Ching. (2013). “Replication of four patroness on the mural of mogao grotto 61’s southeastern wall.” 石窟藝術與數位犁技整合研究計畫 (The Study of the Integration of Grotto Art and Preservation). Retrieved from http://imlab.tw/dunhuang/en/p22.html
  6. Johns, J. (4 June 2011). “China’s Disappearing Clothing.” We drive east. WordPress. Retrieved from: https://wedriveeast.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/chinas-disappearing-clothing/
  7. 潘建华著. (2005). 云缕心衣 : 中国古代内衣文化. 上海: 上海古籍出版社. | Pan Jianhua zhu. (2005) Fantasy beyond body: the civilization of Chinese underwear in ancient times. Shanghai: Shanghai Ancient Books Publishing House. pp. 2-3
  8. 潘建华著. (2005). 云缕心衣 : 中国古代内衣文化. 上海: 上海古籍出版社. | Pan Jianhua zhu. (2005) Fantasy beyond body: the civilization of Chinese underwear in ancient times. Shanghai: Shanghai Ancient Books Publishing House. p. 17
  9. 潘建华著. (2005). 云缕心衣 : 中国古代内衣文化. 上海: 上海古籍出版社. | Pan Jianhua zhu. (2005) Fantasy beyond body: the civilization of Chinese underwear in ancient times. Shanghai: Shanghai Ancient Books Publishing House. p. 17

A modern look at the 2 panel split skirt

what is that high chest skirt that is split? Is okay if you reference more?

Anonymous

fouryearsofshades:

Of course!

Most modern chest-high shirt were made with two piece of rectangular fabric, sewn together on the side, but leaving some portion on the top separate. The design was inspired by andon bakama but the vents are not visible when worn as the top of the skirt should be overlapping. 

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The dressing process:

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Historically, some skirts did have very visible splits. Hence, the outer chest-high skirt was mere decorative, unlike today’s skirt, which is the actual layer that functions to cover up the torso properly. They were mostly from late Tang. 

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One of the cons of using this modern cutting for chest-high skirt is that it is possible to made the front piece longer than the back piece so that the length of the skirt is just right for the both the front and the back of the body. This is a modern concern, as seen above, those ladies doesn’t seem to care that their skirt was touching the ground.

Hope this answer your question! Do contact me if you have any more problem.

Tang stuff – one of my current research bits is the wrap vs. split skirt.

Clothing of the Tang Dynasty – Class Tomorrow!

Tomorrow at Winter Collegium in Meridies’s fair An Dun Theine, I’ll be teaching my first garb class.

Because no, hobby horses, while they are worn, don’t really count as garb.

I’m excited. And nervous. And excited. But if the sudden swell of people on Facebook garb-related groups who are interested in Tang Dynasty stuff is any indication, I’m hoping for the best.

Handout and presentation are done – now is the time of relaxing and trying to think about other things so I can sleep tonight.