Date of Award

December 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Ying Wang


During the Tang dynasty (618-907 A.D.), elite women wore hufu dress to subdue the Tang court’s conventional representations of women. In contrast to the women’s classical dress styles, the hufu dress, or male foreign clothing, typically included a long robe with decorative patterns, a leather belt, long trousers and boots. This paper analyzes elite women and female elite attendants dressed in hufu dress, which established their visual personas of independence, as displayed in paintings and pottery figurines. The hufu dress connects to the foreigners’ dress traveling from the Silk Road, a period when the Tang court fostered tolerance towards foreigners. I compare the Silk Road foreign influence of the Sasanian Persians as a prominent culture that elite women incorporated into their quintessential images of independence, comprising hufu dress and the polo sport, a Persian import. The Tang elite women's adoption of this persona coordinated as part of the women’s experimentation to create new fashion trends in the empire to fulfill the women’s pursuit of visual power through textiles.