Top 10 Popular Ancient China Cloths

Cloths were not only to cover the body in ancient China. It was a symbol of their dignity and respect. Poor people were hemp cloths that were lose and comfortable to wear and work in field while rich people were silk cloths with magnificent colors to make it fancy.

Lower class people were not allowed to wear silk clothing. The color yellow was only limited to the emperor. During Shue dynasty, the commoners were allowed to wear blue and black. After the Mongols brought cotton in China, wearing cotton cloths began from Yuan Dynasty. The fashion trends in China evolved over time though there were limited cloths in Ancient China.

Here are the 10 popular Ancient China Cloths:

1 Dragon Robe


It is considered that a dragon came from heaven in ancient time with a round collar on the right whose most buttons were yellow. That is why yellow is the color for emperors. The robe was also a daily robe for the emperors. Dragon was symbolic as it was a mix of eagle, tiger, snake and a devil.

2 Paneling Lanshan


The formal attire not worn with a crossed collar undergarment and worn by scholars and students during Ming dynasty is Paneling Lanshan.

3 Clothes for the Head (Phoenix crown, Tang Official headwear, Song official Headwear, Ming


Hats were custom codes in China. Men wore hats while women wore hair pins. It was seen on men when they reached 20 as it signified the growing up of men. The hat was also related to status as poor weren’t allowed to wear hats. But the hats were different than now. It covered only the part of the calvaria with its narrow ridge than the whole head like the modern cap. During Han Dynasty, the cap was similar to modern cap but must be matched with the head band. During Liao and Jin Dynasty, people wore fur caps.

4 The Shenyi


The scholar formal attire during the Song and Ming dynasty and court and scholar attire during Shang dynasty is a traditional Chinese men’s attire. The dress later was worn even in Korea and Japan but declined in Tang Dynasty. The upper part of the cloth was made up of 4 panel representing 4 seasons in a year. The lower is made up of 12 panel of fabric sewn representing 12 months in a year. It is made up of Ramie fabric that needs to be bleached.

5 Chang Pao


The dress is a mixture of several other dresses and is a single suit that covers most of your body from the shoulder to the ankles. The loose fitting dress was worn by men. Manchu, who travelled from the Northern China with cold winter, introduced Chang Pao. Men wrapped the sleeves up to while doing their daily chores or hunting. The horse shoe would protect their hands from the cold in winter.

6 Sheni


It is the combination of a tunic and skirt stitched together and modification of the traditional dress Pien Fu. It was a popular dress in ancient China and worn by government officials and scholars. The cuts draping, folds are similar to the traditional dress.

7 Pien Fu


The two pieces of dress with a tunic extended to knees on the top and a skirt of ankle length is a ceremonial dress called Pien Fu. It is worn in formal occasions and comes with colors that signify the many things like red was for summer, green and black were for winter. A cylindrical hat called the Pien is also worn and matched perfectly with the dress.

8 Adornment and Jewelry


The social symbol was shown by the adornment and jewelry worn. There were rules to who could wear what because social status could easily be recognized with the jewelry. Women wore combs and hairpins while men use belt hook or buckle. Ancient Chinese people use more silver and than gold and also materials like Blue Kingfisher feather, blue gems and glass. Jade was also preferred than other stones because it had human- like quality. It was hard, durable and beautiful. The Jade designs were simple in the beginning, and then with time it evolved. There are no Chinese wearing earrings because it was not preferred but amulets with commonly symbol of dragons were worn.

9 Hanfu (Traditional Han Chinese Clothing) – Xia Dynasty


Hanfu, Hanzhuang or Huafu is a unisex traditional dress of Han Chinese people. It is made up of several pieces of clothing like Yi(Unisex) : Open cross-collar garment, Pao (Men Costume) : Closed full-body garment , Ru : Open cross-collar shirt, Shan : Open cross-collar jacket that is worn over the yi, Qun or chang: Skirt for women and ku for men. Known for the crossing collar, waistband and right lapel, it is designed to be comfortable and easy. It was derived from the Book of Han. The book had ‘he (Qu Li) who came to court several times with really good dressing style.

10 Tunics like long t-shirt (Xia Dynasty)


During Xia Dynasty ( 2070- 1600 BCE), Tunic like the long and short robes were worn. Before there was no button and women and men wore it with a belt. The women wore longer ones that touched the ground while the men wore shorter ones up to their knees. Some wore an outer jacket during winter to keep themselves warm.