Chinese academic dress

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Emperor Tang Xuanzong and officials in official/academic dress

The academic dress of China has a long history. The ancient dress is based on the robes of officialdom and the 'degrees' were earned through the imperial civil service examinations, whilst the modern dress is partially influenced by the Western (more so United States) academic dress.


Since Chinese academia was more or less connected with officialdom, the academic dress of ancient China is essentially that of official dress. This basically consists of a red long round-collar robe with long sleeves called a panling lanshan (盤領襴衫) worn with a cap called a putou (幞頭) which was almost always black and had curved wings which was typical of the Tang dynasty. Other dynasties had similar dress with their own take on it, but they basically follow the same pattern and are distinctive from common dress.

Another form of dress was those of the literati and scholars who wore simple everyday dress but wore hats that distinctively indicated their status, such as the si-fang pingding jin (四方平定巾; or simply, fangjin: 方巾), the Chinese equivalent of the "mortarboard".

Modern Chinese academic dress[edit]

Lace-up mortarboards typically used in China and other Asian universities.

More Western now than modern, the current academic dress of China is very different from the ancient form. The current forms have been standardized since 1994.[1] Gowns are closed at the front and are colored depending on the level of the degree; typically, black for bachelors, blue for masters and a combination of scarlet and black for doctoral gowns. The hood is a simple piece of triangular cloth which is colored depending on the faculty. The mortarboard is similar to American ones, except they may have string at the back of the skullcap to tie and secure the cap to the head.

Officers' robes are typically all red (including the mortarboard) with three gold bands on the sleeves, similar to Thai academic dress.

See also[edit]


  1. ^, "在深入研究和广泛征询意见的基础上,1994年,国务院学位委员会审定通过了新中国自己的学位服样式,并作出决定:作为统一规范的学位服,向全国学位授予单位推荐使用,其他样式的学位服一律废止。"

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