Up Contents Timeline and Maps

Weddings had long been an occasion when ordinary people dressed in much more elaborate clothes than they would otherwise wear, and wedding dress has continued to carry symbolic importance, making it a good case for viewing how dress has changed.


This late nineteenth century photograph depicts a young couple in north China at their wedding.


What do you notice about how they are dressed? 


What would you guess about the colors of their garments?



Young couple at their wedding                           source

This newly married couple went to a studio to have a photograph made to commemorate their marriage.  

What differences do you detect between this couple and the one above?  What might account for them?




Studio portrait of bride and groom, 1890s                               source

Below are three photographs of marriages among Hakka in Taiwan in the early twentieth century, between 1923 and 1940.


With regard to clothing, what seems to have changed first?  How could this be explained?

Bride, groom, and family, 1923                 source


How do the family members, other than the bride and groom, dress?

Bride, groom, and family, 1930                                                           source




Why might a couple in Taiwan in 1940 have worn western dress?

Bride and groom, 1940               source

These young people are getting married in a rural area in Yunnan province.

What features of how they are dressed reflect traditional customs?



 Newly married couple in Yunnan in the early 1990s                             source



This picture of the bridal party is from an advertisement for a wedding ceremony company that appeared in a 1990 issue of Women's Magazine.


Why would Chinese want to wear tuxedos and white wedding gowns? 


Magazine advertisement for wedding company          source