Evolution of Chinese Wedding Photos in the Past 120 Years

Chinese Wedding Photos in the 1900s

It was a time when China was still under Manchu’s rule and the traditional Chinese culture, including costumes, were forcibly replaced by Manchu style.

By then taking a wedding photo was not an essential part of the wedding process.

A wedding photo of a court official and his wife

Chinese Wedding Photos in the 1910s

In 1911, the Xinhai Revolution erupted which ended nearly three centuries of Manchus’ rule in China. As a result, Chinese men no longer need to have their head half-shaven and carry a pigtail behind, some even began to embrace Western culture and lifestyle, thus taking a wedding photo became a fashion among the elites.

A wedding photo of a Chinese man and his bride in the 1910s.

A wedding photo in the 1910s. Inside the bride’s white cover was the traditional red wedding dress.

In Chinese tradition, red is the colour for wedding and birth while white attributes to death and funeral.

Wedding photo was especially popular among the men who received education overseas.

Chinese Wedding Photos in the 1920s

In the 1920s, taking wedding photo became quite common among the general populations in Shanghai and other big cities.

Chinese Wedding Photos in the 1930s

The 1930s was the golden age for everything West in China, including Western-style wedding and Western-style wedding photos.

Chinese Wedding Photos in the 1940s

Entering the 1940s, wedding photo was regarded as an integral part of marriage.

The black & white picture on the left is the wedding photo of Li Bai and his wife who lived and worked in Shanghai during the 1940s. The couple’s heroic story was recently retold on the stage by actor Hu Ge and Liu Tao (photo on the right).

Chinese Wedding Photos in the 1950s

Since 1949, wedding photo and marriage registration become compulsory in China.

A wedding photo of two government officials.

A wedding photo of two ordinary workers.

Chinese Wedding Photos in the 1960s

The expression and posture in the wedding photos became more relaxed.

A couple’s wedding photo taken in a studio with a massive photo on the wall as background.

Chinese Wedding Photos in the 1970s

Towards the later 1970s, the Western-style wedding photo reappeared.

Chinese Wedding Photos in the 1980s

From the 1980s, white wedding gown became a standard costume for Chinese wedding photos.

In the 1980s, colour wedding photos emerged and many were added by hand.

Chinese Wedding Photos in the 1090s

In the 1990s, all wedding photos were in colours.

Chinese Wedding Photos in the 2000s

Into the 21st century, wedding photos became more artistic

Chinese Wedding Photos in the 2010s

In the recent decade, more weddings pay tribute to Chinese tradition and many wedding photos are taken outside studios.

A couple in traditional Chinese wedding costume of Ming Dynasty-style pose for a wedding photo in Beijing Forbidden City.

A wedding picture shot on an ancient stone bridge in Suzhou.

A truly down to earth wedding photo

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