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Seminar explores Confucian thought and imperial court dress

By Xu Haoyu | China Daily | Updated: 2022-12-24 09:47
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Peng Lin, a professor at Tsinghua University, speaks at the online seminar. [Photo provided to China Daily]

An academic symposium on traditional Chinese dress, held online by Tsinghua University and the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology on Dec 17, has provided new insight into the relationship between clothing and etiquette in classical Chinese civilization.

Peng Lin, director of the National Center for Economic Research at Tsinghua University, delivered a speech in which he argued that there is no country in the world where clothing is so closely linked to history, politics and culture as China.

"This conference is a result of our cooperation with the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, and we sincerely hope that there will be at least one such conference every year in the future," Peng says.

Feng Shi, a researcher at the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out in his talk at the symposium that the invention of textiles was not only to cover the body, but also for cultural communication, playing an important role in the construction of the traditional Chinese knowledge system and even cosmology.

"Textiles is not only about making clothes, but also about making culture, civilization and a unique Chinese cosmology," Feng says.

Zhao Lianshang, a specially-appointed professor at Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology and also a researcher at the Institute of Ancient History, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, systematically analyzed the costume system of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) in his report, and summarized the content, main changes, and the etiquette and political reasons and motivations behind mianfu during the reigns of the Hongwu (1368-98), Yongle (1403-24) and Jiajing (1522-66) emperors. Mianfu was the highest form of court dress in ancient China, worn by royals during ceremonial occasions such as coronations.

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