Zhou Dynasty
In Zhou Dynasty, black was called onyx which represented the color of heaven. Therefore, black wedding dresses are considered very noble at that time. An excerpt found in the "Book of Rites, Suburban Special Sacrifice" stated that Zhou Dynasty weddings were low-key and held in a private manner. No gongs, no drums, or music were heard and the wedding was typically held in the evenings.
Wei-Jin Dynasties
White wedding dresses can be backtracked to as early as the Wei-Jin Dynasties. During this period, ancient Chinese believed that white is pure, simple, and unpretentious. White corresponded to gold out of the five elements of gold, wood, water, fire, and earth, which happens to align with Jin Dynasty implementation of the Jinde system. Therefore, the emperors of the Jin Dynasty wore white gauze hats. The princes also wore white silk dresses when they got married. More information can be found on the "Book of Jin". Another reason is that during the Wei, Jin, Southern, and Northern Dynasties, wars were rampant, and people generally despaired of reality, began to focus on carpe diem in time, or pursue the illusory Taoist metaphysics. Metaphysics is prevalent, and what people are pursuing is "taking nothing as the foundation", returning to the basics, and the flawless white is the best embodiment of this artistic conception.
Sui, Tang, and Song Dynasties
As China gradually stabilized, illusory metaphysics and white wedding dresses gradually withdrew from the stage of history. Emperor Wen of the Sui Dynasty abolished the nine-rank Zhongzheng system and switched to the imperial examination to select court officials. Thus, men have a clearer goal, and the color red, which represents status and success was popular. Girls in the Tang Dynasty do not wear red when they got married. Their wedding dress was a long turquoise dress. During this period, green clothes and black eyebrows were often used to set standards for a women's gracefulness and beauty. The groom wears a crimson robe. The bride dons a turquoise gown. The boldly contrasting colors add liveliness and festive spirits to the luxurious atmosphere of the Tang Dynasty. Unlike Zhou Dynasty, people living in this period prefer merrier wedding ceremonies. These marriage customs continued into the Song Dynasty. The difference lies in the red sedans, the "ten miles of dowry" for the bride, and the bride using round fans to cover the face instead of the usual red veil.
Ming Dynasty
Reversing the colors found in the previous dynasties, the bride dons a red gown while the groom wears green. People in the Ming Dynasty are very interesting. They believed that a man's marriage to a wife was also an important achievement in life, commonly known as "Little Dengke". Therefore, on the wedding day, even if a man is a commoner, he can make an exception and wear a ninth-rank official uniform, which is in turquoise color. Also in the Ming Dynasty, women can wear phoenix coronets and Xia Pei when they get married. This is the honor of a noble lady, but on the wedding day, even a commoner woman can enjoy it.
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty began to wear red wedding dresses. Moreover, it has the characteristics of traditional Manchu costumes. This combination of Han and Manchu wedding dresses can be relatable to modern Qun Kua.
January 19, 2023 — Shi Ting Ang