Longpao is Chinese imperial dressing with yellow color and dragon emblem. In ancient feudal society, it is easy for people to be distinguished from his daily dress, especially for the ordinary people and upper-class. For the sake of working and low statue, ordinary people usually wear dress making of linen in dark color while upper-class prefer the dress making of silk with many valuable decoration.


Different dynasties use different color to make imperial dress. Xia Dynasty (2070 BC-1600BC) prefers black, Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC-249 BC) prefers red, since an emperor in Han Dynasty using yellow as a designated color for emperor, most of the following dynasties preferred yellow. Besides, China is a nation worship dragon. Among the upper dominated class, the Emperor, without any doubt, designated the color yellow and the dragon emblem on traditional Chinese imperial dress as an exclusive affirmation of their power. You will find the most typical example from the dress of Qing’s Emperor and his empress.

Qing Emperors’ Dress

Qing emperors’ dress adhered to a rigid code that specified clothing for every occasion: ceremonial robes for the most formal ceremonial occasions, court wear for holding audiences, auspicious garments worn during the celebration of festive occasions such as Lunar New Year and his birthday, informal clothing to be worn in his private quarters, and travel ensembles to be worn during the hunt, expeditions and inspection tours. Each ensemble consisted of several garments, headgear, belts, shoes and accessories. The ensembles included seasonal variants. Winter garments, for example, were lined with fur.

Requisite silks, gauzes, satins, brocades and damasks of the highest quality were woven in the imperial weaving factory in Suzhou, and the clothing was sumptuously embroidered and embellished with gold, pearls and precious stones.

Qing Empresses’ Dress

In Qing dynasties, there happened some cases that empress held the royal court together with emperor. In this case, the empress has to wear a certain kind of court robes to show her status. Winter court hats of empress dowagers and empresses were made of fumed marten and sewn with red wefts. Their hats adorned with pearl, gold pheasant patterns, gems and jade ornaments had protective collar behind the neck with drooping bright yellow ribbons. The winter court robes of empress dowagers, queens and high-ranked imperial concubines were bright yellow, and also decorated with images of dragon patterns. Summer court hats were made of cyan velvet.

Empress dressing in Qing Dynasty

Empress dowagers, queens and high-ranked imperial concubines used cyan sheets with gold-wrapped metal trims to decorate their court costumes; images of dragons and Chinese characters Fu (blessing) and Shou (longevity) were embroidered on the clothes. Necklines of dresses of empress dowagers and queens were made of golden filament and decorated with pearls, turquoises and jade ornaments. Three sets of necklaces were hung on the chest when empress dowagers and queens wore court robes. When an empress dowager or queen was in auspicious clothing, she always wore one set of necklace made of pearls, jade and other top-grade materials. Court necklaces of imperial concubines were decorated with ambers, each having 108 beads in four parts divided by three big ones.

In contemporary China, yellow color and dragon emblem are used as a new fashion element. Chinese famous actress has ever with a dress with yellow color and dragon emblem, which was really eye-catching.



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