MRI Forum 39

"China Rules: Chinese Dress from 1644 to the Present"

by Valery Garrett


Summary of the Presentation

Codes of conduct, written and unwritten, are common for most societies around the world. But few were applied as rigorously as those imposed by the rulers of China from early times until quite recently. This illustrated talk begins with the regulations applied to the sumptuous court and dragon robes worn during the Qing dynasty, followed by dress worn in the Republican period in the first half of the 20th century. Finally clothing worn after the founding of the People's Republic in 1949 and during the Cultural Revolution is discussed.

Profile of the Speaker

From Valery Garrett's early interest in traditional dress worn in Hong Kong in the 1970s, she has become an acknowledged authority on Chinese costume, and served as consultant for museums and collections around the world. Her personal collection of New Territories' dress was acquired and exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, as well as at other museums in Asia and Australia. She is the author of ten books on Chinese dress and culture, including “Heaven is High, the Emperor Far Away: Merchants and Mandarins in Old Canton, pub Oxford University Press. Her latest book “Chinese Dress from the Qing Dynasty to the Present.” just published by Tuttle with over 500 illustrations, will be available. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong.