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At the ceremony of capping, the first cap put on was one of black linen. The use of this extended from the feudal lords downwards. It might, after having been thus employed, be put away or disused 1.

The dark-coloured cap, with red strings and tassels descending to the breast, was used at the capping of the son of Heaven. The cap of black linen, with strings and tassels of various colours, was used at the capping of a feudal prince. A dark-coloured cap with scarlet strings an,] tassels was worn by a feudal lord, when fasting. A dark-coloured cap with gray strings and tassels was worn by officers when similarly engaged.

A cap of white silk with the border or roll of a dark colour was worn (? at his capping) by a son or grandson (when in a certain stage of mourning) 2. A similar cap with a plain white edging, was worn after the sacrifice at the end of the year's mourning. (The same cap) with strings hanging down five inches, served to mark the idle and listless officer 3. A dark-coloured cap with the roll round it of white silk was worn by one excluded from the ranks of his compeers 4.

The cap worn in private, with the roll or border attached to it, was used by all from the son of Heaven downwards. When business called them, the strings were tied and their ends allowed to hang down.

At fifty, one did not accompany a funeral with his sackcloth hanging loose. When his parents were dead, (a son) did not have his hair dressed in tufts (any more). With the large white (cap) they did not use strings hanging down. The purple strings with the dark-coloured cap began with duke Hwan of Lû 5.

In the morning they wore the dark-coloured square-cut dress; in the evening, the long dress in one piece. That dress at the waist was thrice the width of the sleeve; and at the bottom twice as wide as at the waist. It was gathered in at each side (of the body). The sleeve could be turned back to the elbow.

The outer or under garment joined on to the sleeve and covered a cubit of it 6 . The collar was 2 inches wide; the cuff, a cubit and 2 inches long; the border, 1½ inch broad. To wear silk under or inside linen was contrary to rule.

An (ordinary) officer did not wear anything woven of silk that had been first dyed 7. One who had left the service of his ruler wore no two articles of different colours. If the upper garment were of one of the correct colours, the lower garment was of the (corresponding) intermediate one 8.

One did not enter the ruler's gate without the proper colours in his dress; nor in a single robe of grass-cloth, fine or coarse; nor with his fur robe either displayed outside, or entirely covered.

A garment wadded with new floss was called kien; with old, phâo. One unlined was called kiung; one lined, but not wadded, tieh.

The use of thin white silk in court-robes began with Kî Khang-dze. Confucius said, 'For the audience they use the (regular) court-robes, which are put on after the announcement of the first day of the month (in the temple).' He (also) said, 'When good order does not prevail in the states and clans, (the officers) should not use the full dress (as prescribed) 9.'

Only a ruler wore the chequered fur robe 10 in addressing (his troops or the multitudes), and at the autumnal hunts 11, (For him) to wear the Great fur robe was contrary to ancient practice.

When a ruler wore the robe of white fox-fur, he wore one of embroidered silk over it to display it 12. When (the guards on) the right of the ruler wore tigers' fur, those on the left wore wolves' fur. An (ordinary) officer did not wear the fur of the white fox.

(Great and other) officers wore the fur of the blue fox, with sleeves of leopard's fur, and over it a jacket of dark-coloured silk to display it; with fawn's fur they used cuffs of the black wild dog 13, with a jacket of bluish yellow silk, to display it; with lamb's fur, ornaments of leopard's fur, and a jacket of black silk to display it; with fox-fur, a jacket of yellow silk to display it. A jacket of embroidered silk with fox-fur was worn by the feudal lords.

With dog's fur or sheep's fur 14, they did not wear any jacket of silk over it. Where there was no ornamentation, they did not use the jacket. The wearing the jacket was to show its beauty.When condoling, they kept the jacket covered, and did not show all its ornamental character; in the presence of the ruler, they showed all this.The covering of the dress was to hide its beauty. Hence, personators of the deceased covered their jackets of silk. Officers holding a piece of jade or a tortoise-shell (to present it) covered it; but if they had no (such official) business in hand, they displayed the silken garment, and did not presume to cover it.

For his memorandum-tablet, the son of Heaven used a piece of sonorous jade; the prince of a state, a piece of ivory; a Great officer, a piece of bamboo, ornamented with fishbone 15; ordinary officers might use bamboo, adorned with ivory at the bottom.

When appearing before the son of Heaven, and at trials of archery, there was no such thing as being without this tablet. It was contrary to rule to enter the Grand temple without it. During the five months' mourning, it was not laid aside. When engaged in the performance of some business, and wearing the cincture, one laid it aside. When he had put it in his girdle, the bearer of it was required to wash his hands; but afterwards, though he had something to do in the court, he did not wash them (again).When one had occasion to point to or draw anything before the ruler, he used the tablet. When he went before him and received a charge, he wrote it down on it. For all these purposes the tablet was used, and therefore it was ornamental.

The tablet was 2 cubits and 6 inches long. Its width at the middle was 3 inches; and it tapered away to 2½ inches (at the ends).

(A ruler) wore a plain white girdle of silk, with ornamented ends; a Great officer, a similar girdle, with the ends hanging down; an ordinary officer, one of dyed silk, with the edges tucked in, and the ends hanging down; a scholar waiting to be employed, one of embroidered silk; and young lads, one of white silk 16.

For all these the buttons and loops were made of silk cords.

The knee-covers of a ruler were of vermilion colour; those of a Great officer, white; and of another officer, purple:--all of leather; and might be rounded, slanting, and straight. Those of the son of Heaven were straight (and pointed at all the corners); of the prince of a state, square both at bottom and top; of a Great officer, square at the bottom, with the corners at the top rounded off; and of another officer, straight both at bottom and top.

The width of these covers was 2 cubits at bottom, and 1 at top. Their length was 3 cubits. On each side of (what was called) the neck were 5 inches, reaching to the shoulders or corners. From the shoulders to the leathern band were 2 inches 17.

The great girdle of a Great officer was 4 inches (wide) 18. In variegated girdles, the colours for a ruler were vermilion and green; for a Great officer, cerulean and yellow; for an (ordinary) officer, a black border Of 2 inches, and this, when carried round the body a second time, appeared to be 4 inches. On all girdles which were tucked in there was no needlework.

(An officer) who had received his first commission wore a cover of reddish-purple, with a black supporter for his girdle-pendant. One who had received the second commission wore a scarlet cover, (also) with a black supporter for the pendant; and one who had received the third commission, a scarlet cover, with an onion-green supporter for the pendant 19.

The son of Heaven wore a girdle of plain white silk, with vermilion lining, and ornamented ends.

The queen wore a robe with white pheasants embroidered on it; (a prince's) wife, one with green pheasants 20.

(The cords that formed the loops and buttons) were 3 inches long, equal to the breadth of the girdle. The rule for the length of the sash (descending from the girdle) was, that, for an officer, it should be 3 cubits; for one discharging a special service, 2½. Dze-yû said, 'Divide all below the girdle into three parts, and the sash will be equal to two of them. The sash, the knee-covers, and the ties are all of equal length 21.'

(The wife of a count or baron) who had received a degree of honour from the ruler 22 wore a pheasant cut out in silk on her robe; (the wife of the Great officer of a count or baron), who had received two degrees, wore a robe of fresh yellow; (the wife of a Great officer), who had received one degree, a robe of white; and the wife of an ordinary officer, a robe of black.

Only the ladies of honour 23 received their degree of appointment, when they presented their cocoons. The others all wore the dresses proper to them as the wives of their husbands.


1. Such a cap had been used anciently; and it was used in the ceremony, though subsequently disused, out of respect to the ancient custom.

2. When his grandfather was dead, and his father (still alive) was in deep mourning for him.

3. By way of punishment or disgrace.

4. Also in punishment. See Book III, iv, 2-5.

5. B.C. 711-694.

6. If we could see one dressed as in those early days, we should understand this better than we do.

7. Because of its expensiveness.

8. The five 'correct' colours were azure (青; of varying shade), scarlet (赤; carnation, the colour of the flesh), white, black, and yellow. The 'intermediate' were green (緣), red (紅), jade-green (碧), purple (紫) and bay-yellow (駵黃).

9. See the concluding article in the 'Narratives of the School.' The words of Confucius are understood to intimate a condemnation of Ki Khang-dze.

10. Made of black lamb's fur and white fox-fur.

11. Or, according to many, in giving charges about agriculture.

12. Of one colour, worn by the king, at a border sacrifice.

13. Or foreign dog. An animal like the tapir or rhinoceros is called by the same name, but cannot be meant here.

14. 'The dress,' says Kang, 'worn by the common people.'

15. The bone seems to be specified; 須 read pan. What bone and of what fish, I do not know.

16. From this paragraph to the end of the part, the text is in great confusion; with characters missing here and there, and sentences thrown together without natural connexion. Khan Hâo has endeavoured to readjust them; but I have preferred to follow the order of the imperial and other editions. The Khien-lung editors advise the reader to do so, and make the best he can of them by means of Kang Hsüan's notes. Khan Hâo's order is paragraphs--25, 19, 20, 27, 23, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29. By this arrangement something like a train of thought can be made out.


The knee-covers of the prince of a state are represented thus--
and of a Great officer,

The knee-covers of the prince of a state are represented thus--
and of a Great officer,

The middle suspender joined on to the top strap at the neck; the two others at the shoulders. On the central portions of the cover were represented certain of the emblems of distinction, according to the rank of the wearer:--dragons on the king's; flames on a prince's; and mountains on a Great officer's. But I do not think the makers of these figures had distinct ideas of the articles which they intended to represent. They certainly fail in giving the student such ideas. The colours, &c., moreover, appear to have varied with the occasions on which they were worn.

The middle suspender joined on to the top strap at the neck; the two others at the shoulders. On the central portions of the cover were represented certain of the emblems of distinction, according to the rank of the wearer:--dragons on the king's; flames on a prince's; and mountains on a Great officer's. But I do not think the makers of these figures had distinct ideas of the articles which they intended to represent. They certainly fail in giving the student such ideas. The colours, &c., moreover, appear to have varied with the occasions on which they were worn.

18. This, according to the Khien-lung editors, was the girdle or sash of 'correct dress,' and white. The variegated girdles, they say, were worn in private and when at leisure.

19. The character for a knee-cover here (韍, fû) is different from that in paragraph 21 (韠, pî); but the Khien-lung editors say their significance is exactly the same. How the knee-covers and the supporter or balance-yard (衡, hang) girdle pendant are spoken of together, I do not know.

20. The pheasants here referred to are described as I have done in the R-Ya. The 'wife' is supposed also to include the ladies called the king's 'three helpmates' in Book I, ii, Part ii, I.

21. Khan Hâo says, 'Man's length is 8 cubits; below the waist 4½ (= 45 inches). A third of this is 15 inches. 2 x 15 = 30 or 3 cubits, the length of the sash, and of the covers in par. 22.' The cubit must have been shorter than the name now indicates. I do not know what the 'ties' were.

22. Kang Hsüan took the ruler here to be feminine, and to mean 'the queen;' and, notwithstanding the protest of the Khien-lung editors, I think he was right. This paragraph and the next speak of the queen and ladies who were brought around her by their work in silk. Why may we not suppose that in her department she could confer distinction on the deserving as the king did in his? This passage seems to show that she did so.

23. These ladies--'hereditary wives'--occur also in Bk. I, ii, Part ii, 1. It is commonly said that there were twenty-seven members of the royal harem, who had each that title; but there is much vagueness and uncertainty about all such statements. 'The others' must refer to the ladies, wives of the feudal lords and Great officers, whose rank gave them the privilege to co-operate with the queen in her direction of the nourishing of the silkworms and preparation of silk.

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IATHPublished by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, © Copyright 2003 by Anne Kinney and the University of Virginia