The Ancient Bridal Sedan chair for Chinese brides is beautiful and in Asia they can still be found performing their traditional duties.
This special and highly decorated chair is used to carry the Chinese bride from her home to the groom’s home. Most times it was the wealthy who used this mode of transportation instead of a mule or a donkey or travelled by foot. However, even the poor would use this for a wedding.
There is a magical tale behind these ornate chairs. There was a Chinese emperor riding in his sedan chair on a guided tour in the montains. His tour was abruptly halted so he exited the sedan chair to see what was the matter. Apparently there was a Chinese bride who was surrounded by her wedding entourage on a donkey’s back in the middle of the path. Although the emperor was thrilled to see a happy maiden on her way to her wedding, there was still a serious matter – who would give way to the other to pass.
The emperor thinking that he was being delightfully intectual made an offer to the bride. He told her that if she could make a poem instantly, then not only would he let her pass first, but he would also lend his sedan to her for the wedding. The bride accept this challenge not knowing who this kind gentleman really was. She then started to recite, “See you tour; see me tour. No matter whoever is the host on the road; See your sedan; see my donkey, clearly which is better for my wedding. Your Honor, must be generous; lend me your vehicle instead of my living animal? Who can say I am humble while you are noble! No difference here in the middle, just the phenomena poke fun at people.” (quote from www.chineseculture.about.com) The emperor was captivated by this common woman’s deeps thoughts of life that he fulfilled his end of the bargain.
The use of these special sedan chairs remained popular and a custom for many generations afterwards until the 1930’s when World War II was underway and the economic downturn of the great depression.
This is an image of a Bridal Sedan Chair courtesy of www.myshoppingbeijing.com. It’s likely a modern interpretation used for tourism or as a photography prop.