An outstanding characteristic of traditional Chinese clothing is not only an external expression of elegance, but also an internal symbolism. Each and every piece oftraditionalclothing communicates a vitality of its own. This combination of external form withinternal symbolism is clearly exemplified in the pair of fighting pheasant feathers used in head wear originating in the battle wear of the Warring States period (475-221 B.C.). Two feathers of a ho bird (a type pheasant good at fighting) were inserted into the head wear of warriors of this period to symbolize a bold and warlike spirit.
Archaeological findings of 18,000 year-old artifacts such as bone sewing needles and stone beads and shells with holes bored in them attest to the existence of ornamentation and of sewing extremely early in Chinese civilization. Variety and consistency in clothing were roughly established by the era of the Yellow Emperor and the Emperors Yao and Shun(about
4,500 years ago). Remains of woven silk and hemp articles and ancient ceramic figures furtherdemonstrate the sophistication and refinement of clothing in the Shang Dynasty (16th to 11th century B.C.).