Yuanlingpao – Traditional Chinese Formal Robes for Male & Female

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Yuanlingpao - Traditional Chinese Formal Robes for Male & Female

We have introduced several casual dresses from the Ming Dynasty (Zhiduo/Taoist robes/Zhishen/stand collar Hanfu shirt), today’s article will introduce the history of the Ming Hanfu Yuanlingpao and its use as a formal dress for grand occasions. On many traditional ceremonial occasions, the most popular dress set for men is the Wushamao and Yuanlingpao, and for women, is the Fengguan Xiapei and Yuanlingpao.

Men’s Formal Dress: Wushamao & Yuanlingpao

Yuanlingpao - Traditional Chinese Formal Robes for Male & Female

[Structure and History]

Wushamao (乌纱帽), is a Ming dynasty imitation of the Tang dynasty form of Futou (幞头), the shape is tall and dignified, behind the insertion of two straight and wide wings, mostly square or oval, can be said to be a standard issue for wearing Yuanlingpao.

Yuanlingpao - Traditional Chinese Formal Robes for Male & Female

Yuanlingpao (round collar robes, 圆领袍), The origin can be traced back to the North and South dynasties and has been used as the formal dress of officials during the Tang and Song dynasties, and the round collar robes with Buzi (补子)were used as the regular dress of officials during the Ming dynasty and later as the formal dress of ordinary people.

Yuanlingpao - Traditional Chinese Formal Robes for Male & Female

Yuanlingpao, also known as pan collar (盘领)
  • Youren (右衽);
  • with big sleeves;
  • the body is slit below the waist and sewn with an outer hem;
  • the length of the robe is up to the ankle.
The pattern decoration of the Yuanlingpao, except for the plain colors, broadly into two general categories.
  • One is to stitch Buzi on the two parts of the chest and back, using the different Buzi patterns to divide the civil and military officials and ranks;
  • Secondly, decorated with Yunjian (云肩), Tongxiulan (通袖襕), and Xilan (膝襕), which are more used for festive formal clothing, or the reward of the court to the officials of the country.

Yuanlingpao - Traditional Chinese Formal Robes for Male & Female Yuanlingpao - Traditional Chinese Formal Robes for Male & Female

Yuanlingpao - Traditional Chinese Formal Robes for Male & Female
round collar robes with a Mang pattern.

Yuanlingpao - Traditional Chinese Formal Robes for Male & Female

[Occasion and Matching]

As a formal dress, the round collar robes have different properties from casual wear and regular wear, which can be freely matched with many occasions, and has always been subject to strict dressing etiquette. Nowadays, the round neck gown is used for occasions including, but not necessarily limited to weddings, large birthdays, banquets, etc.

The color could be less restrictive, mostly to a dignified & atmosphere of the fabric color is the priority, and weddings more with red. The fabric can be decided according to the season and your economic situation, Buzi pattern can also be separated from the grading system, according to personal preferences.

Yuanlingpao - Traditional Chinese Formal Robes for Male & Female

If you wear round collar robes, you should wear Tieli (贴里), Dahu (褡护), or Zhishen (直身) on the inside to bring out the weighty silhouette of the outer robes. For weddings, wear Wushamao with Zanhua (簪花, flower pin) on both sides. A leather belt is worn at the waist and black leather boots are worn on the feet.

Women’s formal dress: Fengguan Xiapei & Yuanlingpao

Next is the women’s dress:

Our perceived women’s robes are usually Fengguan (凤冠, phoenix crowns), large shirts, and Xiapei (霞帔), which is recorded in the DaMingHuiDian (大明会典). However, in the mid to late Ming Dynasty, women often wore round collar robes, discarded their large shirts, and did or did not wear Xiapei. The ornaments worn on their heads sometimes changed as well.

Yuanlingpao - Traditional Chinese Formal Robes for Male & Female

[Structure and History]

The decoration of the female round collar robes’ pattern can be broadly divided into two types: firstly, is to stitch Buzi on the two parts of the chest and back. There are various patterns, mostly in square form.

and secondly, they are decorated with Yunjian, Tongxiulan, and Xilan. The common patterns are Mang (蟒, a pattern resembling a dragon), Qilin (麒麟, mythical Chinese animal), Luanfeng(鸾凤 phoenix), and so on.

Yuanlingpao - Traditional Chinese Formal Robes for Male & Female Yuanlingpao - Traditional Chinese Formal Robes for Male & Female

The women’s round collar robes pattern is similar to the men’s, with the difference that the women’s round collar robes usually does not have an outer hem at the slit.

[Occasion and Matching]

Brides attending weddings in the mid to late Ming Dynasty would usually choose red round collar robes as their wedding attire. Accessories will be a choice of Shudai (束带, a kind of belt), Xiapei, Fengguan, or appropriate hair accessories.

Round collar robes are the outermost layer of clothing and should not be worn alone. It can be worn with a Chang ao (长袄, long coat) or Chang shan(长衫, long jacket ) with a stand collar or a crossed collars. You can choose a matching Mamian skirt according to the pattern or color scheme.

There are various options for hair accessories. For formal occasions in a red robe, can choose a Fengguan or a Diguan (翟冠). If you are wearing other colors, you can choose a Liangguan (梁冠) or a Diji (荻髻).

Yuanlingpao - Traditional Chinese Formal Robes for Male & Female


The above is about Chinese formal robes for males and females: Yuanlingpao.
More about Hanfu clothing & Hanfu history can click here.

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