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ZHENG Yuting

Donghua University (Shanghai, China)
College of Fashion and Design

Thesis Topic

Research on Tibetan Silk Robes in the Qing Dynasty

Since ancient times, there was no tradition of producing silk in Tibet. Therefore, Tibetan silk robes in the Qing Dynasty refer to the robe which made of silk pieces, robe material and robes imported into Tibet through reward, trade and other channels, and cut or modified according to the shape of traditional Tibetan costume. This kind of costume reflects the political ownership and trade exchanges of Tibet in the Qing Dynasty and the policy system of the Qing government governing Tibet, it contains rich ethnic cultural characteristics. However, at present, the academic research on the Qing Dynasty costume and Tibetan costume are mostly concentrated in the fields of court costume, Tibetan Buddhist Sangha costume and contemporary Tibetan costume, there is a lack of in-depth research on the Tibetan costume in the Qing Dynasty, especially the systematic and specialized discussion on the silk robes which worn by the upper class of Tibet in the Qing Dynasty. Although there are records in historical documents, there is few research result. The reason for this is that the Tibetan silk robes in the Qing Dynasty handed down are limited and rare, the only remaining objects are scattered and difficult to obtain. By contacting collection resources, investigating museums on the spot and searching domestic and foreign databases, the author has integrated a batch of ninety-eight pieces of Tibetan silk robes handed down in the Qing Dynasty. The time span covers the early, middle and late Qing Dynasty. The shape, regulation and materials are both typical and representative, which has solved the defect that have historical records but without historical evidence.

This paper takes Tibetan silk robes in the Qing Dynasty as the research object, applies multiple evidence method, comparative analysis method, field research and other methods, and combines the theory of “the pattern of pluralistic integration of the Chinese nation” and other disciplines such as Clothing Science, Ethnology, Anthropology, Archaeology and History. In the fundamental research part, explore the historical origin of ancient Tibetan silk robes and the current collection status of Tibetan silk robes in the Qing Dynasty. In the comprehensive analysis part, the material, structure, pattern and compatibility of the specimen were analyzed in a special way, the physical objects, documents, images and field data were mutually verified. The material exchange between the Central Plains and Tibet in the Qing Dynasty was taken as the main research perspective to sort out the history of silk imported into Tibet and cut into robes, and to excavate the historical facts of the interaction, exchange and blending between Tibet and the central government in the Qing Dynasty. It is expected to restore the original appearance of Tibetan silk robes in the Qing Dynasty from multiple perspectives. Its existence strongly proves the continuity and depth of cultural exchanges between Tibet and the Central Plains, and provides rich historical resources for a profound understanding of the community of shared destiny of the Chinese nation. The research results help to enrich the ancient Chinese silk art, improve the structure system of the Chinese traditional costume, supplement the basic data of the study of ethnic cultural relics in Tibet, broaden the innovative thinking of contemporary Tibetan style clothing design and deepen the study of the Tibetan paradigm of the “pluralistic and integrated” cultural characteristics of Chinese costume, providing precedent and inspiration for the interaction and exchange between ethnic groups in the new era.

The Tibetan Yellow Brocade Robe with the Pattern of the Auspicious Cloud and Golden Dragon in the Qing Dynasty