Talk: The Tactile and Playful World of Tang Fashion
with Dr. BuYun Chen
Wednesday, February 26, 2020 @ 7:30 pm
Hamilton Hall 109
Open to public
This talk explores how clothing, its makers, wearers, and critics, became the moving parts of a burgeoning fashion system in Tang dynasty China (618-907). Across the empire, elite men and women stirred up much attention by subverting official regulations on dress, opting for sumptuous silks and novel designs. Tang China was fertile ground for fashion as a process of image- and self- making to take root, as ritual and official dress codes had opened up the space for thinking about the dressed body as a site of status performance. Motivated by a desire to “keep up with the times” and spurred on by a booming silk industry, these elites – in particular, women – flouted the sartorial hierarchy and in turn, the social order.
BuYun Chen is a historian who specializes in the history of textile production, fashion, and craft technology in premodern China. She recently completed a book on the history of fashion during the Tang dynasty, titled Empire of Style: Silk and Fashion in Tang China (University of Washington Press). Her current research explores how the circulation of raw materials, finished goods, and technical knowledge between China, Japan, and Southeast Asia shaped local craft practices.
With grateful acknowledgement to the Pieczonka Family Foundation for their support.