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ivoci - Fang Xin Qu Ling 方心曲领, Song Dynasty Round White Collar - 1

The official uniforms of the various dynasties are different, and each has its style.

We often find in dramas/films set in the Song dynasty, when officials go to court, they wear some sort of white collar around their necks.

Some people were confused after seeing it. Why do they wear things like that? Is that thing used as a tie?

This white “collar” is called Fang Xin Qu Ling (Chinese: 方心曲领 ; pinyin: fāng xīn qū lǐng), and it was not made in the Song dynasty but has appeared since the Tang dynasty.

ivoci - Fang Xin Qu Ling 方心曲领, Song Dynasty Round White Collar - 3

Fang Xin Qu Ling is a Song dynasty design that follows the Tang system, reflecting the ancient Chinese concept of a round sky and square earth.

However, during the Song dynasty, this kind of white “collar” became popular and became a standard feature of formal dress, and has become the official dress of the Song dynasty.


Since the Han dynasty, to make the palace clothes stickier, officials lined the outer collar with a round collar, which is called “Qu Ling / curved collar”, also known as “Ju Ling”.

In the Tang dynasty, Fang Xin Qu Ling was covered with a semicircular hard layer in the middle.

To make the collar stand out, the Song dynasty used white Luo to make the top circle and the bottom (that is, make the collar circular, and the bottom is connected to the square) ornaments to press the collar.

《宋史·舆服志三》 clearly stated that “Bai Luo Fang Xin Qu Ling”. But due to the vicissitudes of the wars in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms, many details and objects were lost, so the current Fang Xin Qu Ling no longer returned to its original form. Based on ancient books and their understanding, the people of the Song dynasty designed and white Luo in the shape of a wreath key. Later, Fang Xin Qu Ling was entered into the clothing system and passed down, and was used until the Ming dynasty.

Fang Xin Qu Ling Function

However, why did the people of the Song dynasty design this kind of white “collar” for official dress?

Adding Fang Xin Qu Ling to the official uniform of the imperial court can make officials more stylish and look better in spirit.

ivoci - Fang Xin Qu Ling 方心曲领, Song Dynasty Round White Collar - 4

Song Xuanzu

1. Aesthetics

In the past, officials dressed neatly, with many layers of clothing, making him look bloated.

This type of collar is also called a heart-shaped square collar, usually made of rough, textured, strong fabric and has a high specific gravity. Wearing it around the neck can effectively suppress the collar and prevent any parts from being wavy and uneven, which will affect the appearance.

2. Symbolic

The round top of the “collar” represents the sky, and the bottom square shape represents the earth. The combination of square and circle implies the unity of man and nature.

In ancient times, there was an idea that monarchy was bestowed by gods, and heaven was a symbol of imperial power. The ministers wear this thing, always reminding themselves to put themselves in the right position, not to neglect their duties, and not to cause trouble.

ivoci - Fang Xin Qu Ling 方心曲领, Song Dynasty Round White Collar - 2

Lü Yijian

3. Warning

There are two ropes at the end of Fang Xin Qu Ling. After putting on the court dress, put it around your neck and tie the two ends of the rope. If you bend over, the square neck of the strap will choke your neck, which is very uncomfortable.

This is tantamount to telling officials at all levels to behave according to the rules. Once dereliction of duty occurs, it will imperceptibly remind you that the collar around your neck will tighten even more, make you gasp, and even kill you.

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