A Chinese Bridal Chest
Chan Fong Kin
In ancient China the mother of the bride had to give her daughter two chests of clothes on her wedding day to accompany the bride when she went to the bride-groom’s home. The two words ‘Double Happiness’ had to be pasted on the two chests. These beautiful decorated rectangular chests would be carried manually behind the bridal sedan chair followed by a group of musicians. These chests would be supported by long poles placed on the shoulders of the two male carriers. On arrival at the bride-groom’s home the mother-in-law and other relatives would inspect the contents of the two chests. Then the bride’s family background would be assessed or usually criticized because of the poor quality of the clothes in the chests. How the mother-in-law would treat her daughter in future would depend to a great extent on so called ‘dowry’ of the bride.