Traditional Chinese Wedding Gown - Kua-Qun
Hong Kong brides usually wear a Chinese gown consisting of a jacket and a skirt, and serve tea to the elders. Every place has its characteristic wedding clothing and brides in Hong Kong wear a Chinese gown called a kua-qun. The upper part of this Chinese gown is called kua, a jacket, and the lower part is called qun, a skirt. The entire gown consists of nine pieces of fabric. Five pieces make the jacket – two for the front chest, one for the back and two for the sleeves. Four pieces are for the skirt – the left and right sides, the front and the back. In Chinese, the word “nine” sounds exactly the same as the word “long” and it symbolises long-lasting marital bliss.
The process of making a set of kua-qun is to embroider the designs on the fabric first and then cut the fabric. The size of the pieces depends on the density of the embroidery. The basic fabric for a gown is red Japanese silk. The value of a kua is measured by the amount of embroidery on the fabric. Of the various types of kua, the most valuable is Kua King, with delicate embroidery and golden coloured designs almost covering all the raw red silk underneath.
A piece of fabric is covered completely by embroidery, one stitch at a time. A machine cannot do that. In addition, the dragon and phoenix pattern protrudes slightly and gives a 3-dimensional look from afar. In actuality, the fabric is flat, but a master’s hand can do wonders!” Other types of kua can also be so dense with embroidery that one cannot see the red silk. Consequently, the less red silk that is revealed, the more expensive the gown will be. There are many varieties of kua-qun patterns. The dragon and phoenix are symbols of auspiciousness, the peony is a symbol of prosperity, the pomegranate symbolises many offspring and mandarin ducks are a symbol of marital love. One can also find goldfish, roses, the blessing rat, the lotus and words of happiness. The name of a kua depends on the designs on the front panel of the gown. If a goldfish design is on the front panel, it will be known as a goldfish kua.
Making kua begins with the embroidery first. After designs are embroidered onto the fabric, it will then be cut into the desired measurements.
A hand-embroidered dragon protrudes from the surface of the fabric giving a 3-dimensional look.
The pomegranate on a kua-qun symbolises many offspring.
Dragon and phoenix are symbols of auspiciousness.