Skip to content

‘Tremendous wealthy’ marriage ceremony downry procession reimagined by two devoted artisans

Hangzhou wooden sculptor Shen Qiufa and his clay figurine-making collaborator Ding Jianhua have reimagined the spectacular dowry procession that was part of marriage ceremony ceremony for the daughter of a well-off household in China.

They’ve accomplished a full mannequin of Shili Hongzhuangwhich accurately means the procession carrying dowry, an occasion which in some circumstances may stretch for 10 li (5 kilometers) if the woman’s household was tremendous wealthy.

It was such an unavoidable a part of the custom that in historic instances when a woman was born, her dad and mom ready for his or her daughter’s marriage from start. After years of preparation, the dowries typically included a myriad of things, from beds and wardrobes to mirrors and bowls.

'Super rich' wedding downry procession reimagined by two dedicated artisans

Ti Gong

A full mannequin of the Shili Hongzhuang depicts the procession carrying dowry for the daughter of a well-off household in China.

The custom dates again to the Southern Tune Dynasty (1127–1279) when Emperor Gaozong moved the capital to Lin’an, at the moment’s Hangzhou, after the northern half of China fell to invading Jurchens who established the Nice Jin (1115-1234) within the occupied territory.

On his southbound trek, Gaozong survived with the assistance of a village lady. To return the favor of her, I’ve promised to marry her if he got here to the throne of her however he couldn’t discover her when that occurred.

So, to honor his lifesaver, the emperor granted native folks the fitting to make use of dragon and phoenix patterns on the marriage ceremony. The story added some legendary colour to the dowry tradition and in addition mirrored ladies’s knowledge and bravado.

The follow regularly developed into the Shili Hongzhuang custom and prevailed in Zhejiang for hundreds of years.

The larger and higher the dowry, the upper the standing their daughter would have in her new household.

Right now, some Hangzhou locals nonetheless put together vintage-style pink utensils on the marriage day, creating an auspicious vibe and praying for happiness. Each merchandise is painted with pink lacquer, historically thought of auspicious in China.

Although such a spectacle has light with historical past, Shen and Ding’s work in Shangcheng District supplies a snapshot of historic traditions.

'Super rich' wedding downry procession reimagined by two dedicated artisans

Ti Gong

Shen Qiufa works on a mannequin of the shili hongzhuang in his workshop.

“The work took us months to finish. We researched the backdrop of the dowry, Southern Tune costumes and life to recreate the centuries-old scenes as realistically as doable,” mentioned Shen. “I hope it could possibly assist popularize such historic tradition amongst youthful generations.”

Shen, 75, designed the wood dowry and Ding created the collectible figurines. The spotlight of the normal marriage ceremony was the bridal sedan, during which the bride would sit and be carried to the bridegroom’s household, adopted by porters carrying her dowry.

The sedan chair was typically engraved with auspicious floral patterns, legendary tales and legendary creatures. The entire floor was painted with gold and pink lacquer, with tassels hanging from the home windows.

In olden instances, solely a rich household might afford such a classy sedan chair, as a result of the lease equaled the value of tons of rice.

Picket furnishings accounted for a big a part of dowries, from beds, wardrobes to cabinets and tables. The objects had been typically carved with dragon and phoenix patterns, a rarity in Chinese language folks tradition as the 2 legendary creatures had been unique to the royal household.

Among the many ready dowry objects, some much less vital vessels typified the dad and mom’ cautious consideration of a daughter’s life along with her new household, as an example, a pair of offspring buckets. One was used during which to wash the new child, whereas the opposite collected donations of milk from different moms if the brand new mother did not have sufficient to feed her child.

'Super rich' wedding downry procession reimagined by two dedicated artisans

Ti Gong

Offspring buckets are thought of a necessary merchandise of the dowry.

“In fashionable instances, folks not use such wood buckets, however locals nonetheless put together an offspring barrel on the marriage day. In any other case, the dad and mom could be thought of as being with out etiquette,” mentioned Shen.

The cover mattress was on the majestic heart of the dowry. It featured wood posts on the 4 corners holding in place the mattress board and a suspended cover. The mattress was typically intricately embellished with auspicious motifs, significantly referring to fertility, longevity and a contented marital union.

When a bride’s dad and mom invited craftsmen to make the mattress, they’d host a ritual to worship ancestors and immortals, praying for thriving offspring. That testified to the mattress’s significance in downry tradition.

“About 20 years in the past, I deliberate to make the Shili Hongzhuang. Right now, the purpose was realized,” mentioned Shen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.