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Chinese Sedan Chair
Sedan Chair
Chinese Sedan Chair in Countryside
China Information - China Folk Culture and Art
Sedan Chair

Chinese Sedan Chair

Sedan Chairs were originally called Jiaoyu (shoulder carriage) in Chinese, and as time went by, people began to call this shoulder carriage jiaozi.
Before the introduction of automobiles into China, sedan chairs were a popular and main means of transportation. They were made of bamboo or
wood, square in shape and curtained on four sides. Usually it has poles for two, four or eight manservants to shoulder. Originally sedan chairs
were used for crossing of mountains and rivers but later they were used for all travel.

In old times, sedan chairs designed varied to accommodate different social status and occasions. The sedan chairs used by common people
were called minjiao (civil sedan), by notes or high-ranking officials, ganjiao (official sedan). While minjiao were plain, the guanjiao were
elaborately decorated and ornamented. The higher the rank of the official, the more luxurious his sedan and the larger the number of men needed
to carry it. But usually the number of bearers was not no more than eight except for the emperor.

In the past, people usually used decorated-all-in-red bridal sedan chairs for weddings. On the wedding day, the groom, bringing gifts, would lead
the procession. After the groom greeted his future in-law, the bride would ascend the first sedan chair in front and the groom would take the one
behind hers. Amid drums and gongs, the couple would then leave for their new home. Even poor families would try to hire a red sedan chair and a
band for wedding procession. Although, today sedan chairs are no longer in use, the Chinese language still uses the expression " to sit in a bridal
sedan chair" to refer to a wedding ceremony.


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