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Song Dynasty (1100s AD) silk and gold woman's jacket

Song Dynasty (1100s AD) silk and gold woman’s jacket Huang Family tomb, in Fuzhou

During the Song Dynasty, in the 1100s AD, most people still wore clothes made of hemp, but rich people continued to wear silk clothing. Both men and women wore robes with very wide sleeves for formal occasions (but not to work in the fields).

During the Song Dynasty, everybody liked to wear fancy clothes, even if they didn’t have very much money. Women spent hours creating fancy hairstyles with braids and puffs, and they used paper flowers and birds to decorate their hairstyles. Many people also used perfume, and they embroidered flowers all over their shoes.

Learn by doing: Chinese footbinding
More about Chinese clothing

Bibliography and further reading about Chinese clothing:

China and Japan (Cultures and Costumes), by Paula Hammond (2003). For teens.

Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes, by Nina Simonds and others (Children’s Museum of Boston, 2002).

Chinese Clothing: An Illustrated Guide, by Valery Garrett (1994). Expensive, but there’s a lot of pictures. Some of it deals with a time period later than this site.

5000 Years of Chinese Costumes, by Zhou Xun and Gao Chunming (1987). This is for theater costumers and historians, and really goes into detail, with great pictures – but it’s not cheap. Get it through your library.

Bound, by Donna Jo Napoli (2004). A novel for young adults about footbinding in medieval China.

More on how to make Chinese costumes , Chinese food, and some ideas for activities? Click here.
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