Daoism is a traditional indigenous religion in China. The ritual clothing of the Daoist priests inherits the traditional dressings and has clear Daoist culture meaning. The dressings of priests in different position of the altar have obvious distinctions, and the priests will also wear the appropriate dress in accordance with the type of ritual.
The High Priest’s Ritual Robe
The high priest’s ritual robe is much more splendidly embroidered than those of other attendees. The robe is made of vermilion silk, with roundels of crane motifs and the eight auspicious objects of the Eight Immortals embroidered on the front and back using colourful silk threads and gold threads.
This is the high priest’s headdress used exclusively for The Anterior Heaven Ritual for Feeding, Saving and Refining Ghosts. When the high priest acts as the gods’ proxy and expounds Daoist scriptures and practice, he would have the “Five-emperor” lotus petal-shaped headdress tied to the front of his cap. The five lotus petals are embroidered with images of the Five Emperors of the Five Directions.
Cloud shoes are for the high priest’s exclusive use. They are so-called because cloud patterns are embroidered on the shoes’ vamps. Like the high priest’s ritual robe shown in above, cloud shoes are also in bright red.
The patchwork robe originally referred to Buddhist monks and Daoist priests’ robes sewn with strips cut from old clothes given out as alms. It later evolved to become a form of ritual dress. Daoist canons chronicle Celestial Master Sa Shoujian “donning the demon-slaying patchwork dress, holding the five-light ghost-exorcising fan.”
Also known as Chonghe scarf and Nanhua scarf, the names meaning people who wear this sacrf can be as free as Zhuangzi and become extraordinary. The bottom of the scarf is in square shape, the upper part is in triangular, shaped like a roof. On the front of the scarf, there is a jade which can help to adjust the scarf wearing in proper direction.