A new book reveals that royal dogs in China were leaders in fashion.
A dog named Big Luck, breed and gender unconfirmed, lived in China’s Forbidden City more than 100 years ago. The pampered royal canine had a silk tailor-made outfit that draped over the entire body, leaving only the tail and snout visible.
Created during the reign of the Guangxu emperor (1875-1908), the silk garment was trimmed with floral patterns. Big Luck’s name was engraved in the lining.
Royal dogs of that period lived a life of elegance. They slept on silk pillows, walked on marble floors, and were cared for by eunuchs who were employed by the Dog Raising Office.
The canines received a lot of attention, especially by the court ladies, who played with them, took them for walks, and dressed them in luxurious fashions. The pets’ names were a “must” for the lining of each piece of clothing.
The dog days of fashion were coming to a halt just as Big Luck was getting accustomed to the posh lifestyle. In 1911, the last emperor of China, a boy named Puyi, was forced to give up his throne. That was the end of royalty — both human and canine.
Big Luck’s extravagant outfit went on display in a Forbidden City exhibit at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum this month.