The Curtain Hat
Collaboration with Eric Chengyang
Photo © Mariam Magsi, 2017
Recently, I have been exploring veiling practices, both contemporary and historic, from various parts of the world. My research and collaboration with Eric Chengyang has led to learning about a Chinese method of veiling known as weimao, a “wide-brimmed hat, with a shoulder length veil.” Weimao dates back to the Sui dynasty (581-619) or earlier. Historically, this headwear was also known as the mili, a “body long veil designed to block the stranger’s gaze.” Mili became “popular for ladies of the imperial and ducal households who rode horses on public roads. Completely covering the body, the mili, which was sometimes adorned with jewels, was viewed as an expression of the highest propriety, despite its origins in foreign Rong and Yi cultures.”
(Source - China: Dawn of a Golden Age, 200-750 AD)
The weimao method of veiling does not exist anymore except for performative purposes.
Below, though often mistaken for a Japanese kimono, this black, embroidered garment is a Ming-styled hanfu (Han Chinese clothing). This style, called "pi-feng", is a loose fitting garment with parallel lapels and wide sleeves, similar to a jacket. Hanfu is generally referred to a system of clothing and style worn by the Han Chinese people throughout China’s various dynasties before 1645. The exact definition of hanfu is fluid and debatable. It is important to note that hanfu refers to a group of ethnic clothing and is not equivalent to the national clothing of China.