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Chinese Ribbon Buttons

Chinese ribbon buttons, also known as right-angled buttons, have always been the most fascinating part of Chinese costumes with their classical beauty and antique flavor. Made of simple cloth ribbons, the buttons have in fact become precious artworks, combining the disposition and wisdom of makers.

As a traditional accessory, Chinese ribbon buttons are making a comeback in a larger variety of types, such as long-sleeve buttons, short-sleeve buttons and front ribbon buttons. Even on the back vent of a straight bottom dress are decorations of several ribbon buttons.

Ribbon buttons vary a lot in shapes and materials. They include butterfly buttons, bud buttons, and engraving-like buttons, which can have different influences on different types of costumes. A ribbon button decorated on a straight standing collar is likely to add a touch of classical elegance and implicitness, typical of Zhang Ailing, a famous Chinese female writer in the 1930s, who liked to wear the old clothes of the late Qing dynasty (1644-1911); one on a low-cut collar will show the romantic and charming character of modern women, while a row of parallel ribbon buttons on a long dress are exquisite and beautiful; a slightly opened short blouse with several flower-like ribbon buttons can show the beauty and innocence of a girl.

Of the various types of ribbon buttons, those hand-made buttons are the most delicate and exquisite with high aesthetic value. However, with the quickening pace of modern life and the deepening of industrialization, few women are willing to learn the art. As a result, more and more machine-made ribbon buttons are flooding the market. Though in equal varieties of forms and materials, they lack the gracefulness of those manmade ones.

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