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Chinese Ritual Papers

Paper Garments

Weaving silk reached a high level of artistic and technical quality by the time of the Han Dynasty, 206 BC to 220 AD. Many of the richly painted and decorated paper garments of today resemble the clothing from the early funeral garments for the aristocracy. Paper garments are used for offerings to the deities and for ancestor worship. These include T-shaped robes, often hand-painted with a zest of artistic zeal, caps and high platform shoes fit for the emperor. Accessories to funeral outfits may include underwear, a modern watch, gloves and other personal items.
Paper garments are readily available in the West Coast Chinatowns in the United States. They may be purchased ready-made, or sheets of small to large, plain or decorated papers are sold to cut, fold and paste your own clothing. One burns paper garments along with other papers, typically gold and silver money papers and Hell Bank Notes.
slide show of different paper garments
My collection of paper garments for both the gods and goddesses and for the deceased fills one of my large flat file drawers. The small robes come bundled in many colors, whereas the large ones are sold individually. The largest hand painted ones, approximately 42"x42" are for the gods, special colors for each god. One burns white, painted robes as an offering to Quan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy.
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