October 19, 2015

1972 CHINA - Imperial Concubine Consort Hua in "Empresses in the Palace"

Empresses in the Palace, also known as The Legend of Zhen Huan, is a Chinese television series based on the Internet novel of the same name, first aired in China on 17 November 2011. The drama has been praised for being one of the best historical dramas broadcast in Chinese mainland in recent years, and achieved very high ratings not only in China, but also in Taiwan and Japan. In the postcard is the Imperial Concubine Consort Hua, played by the actress Jiang Xin.

The action of this series takes place during the reign of the Yongzheng Emperor (r. 1722-1735), the fifth emperor of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty and the third Qing emperor to rule over China proper. The Manchu were nomadic people, ethnically distinct from the majority Han population who had ruled during the preceding Ming dynasty, so after the Manchu-Qing rulers seized control of China in 1644, they moved quickly to assert authority over the Han population.

The Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-1795), concerned that Manchu customs were being subsumed and diluted by Chinese ways, commissioned a massive work which established the ritual on the Court. In particular, there was a long section on the dress of the emperors, princes, noblemen and their consorts, as well as officials and their wives and daughters. Clothing was divided into official and non-official wear, and then subdivided into formal, semiformal, and informal. Very interesting details can be found in the book Chinese Dress: From the Qing Dynasty to the Present, by Valery Garrett.

I don't know if the dress worn by the actress is or not historically accurate, in return the headdress seems to be too elaborate for that time. On non-official occasions, the Manchu women wore an unusual headdress called a liang ba tou (two handfuls of hair), with batwing-like shapes, formed from false hair or black satin arranged over a wooden, metal, or ivory fillet (called bian fang), anchored with hairpins to the natural hair. Towards the end of the dynasty, the headdress became larger and more ornamented (as in the picture).

About the stamp
The stamp is part of the series Jellyfish, issued on January 8, 2015:
• Pelagia noctiluca (5 TWD)
• Physophora hydrostatica (7 TWD)
• Mastigias papua (10 TWD)
• Cyanea capillata (12 TWD) - It's on the postcard

Empresses in the Palace - Wikipedia
Chinese Dress: From the Qing Dynasty to the Present, by Valery Garrett
Chinese dress in the Qing dynasty - Powerhouse Museum

Sender: Winni Chen
Sent from Taichung (Taiwan), on 30.01.2015

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