What Is A Chinese Sedan Chair?

A Chinese sedan chair was made of wood and shaped into a rectangular cabin. A chair was attached to it, and two horizontal poles were used to carry it around. The men used to bring the Chinese sedan chairs were known as posters. It was mainly used to have the nobles like emperors or necessary memorial tablets. Though it was used as a means of transport in remote areas, it was also associated with the most important rite of passage, which was marriage. Read on to learn about the Chinese sedan chair.

Why is it called a sedan chair?

Sedan Chair
Sedan Chair

This seat is named after the sedan town in France where it originates from and is first used. Sedan chairs are a means of a human-powered form of transport and have been used for many years. These chairs are ubiquitous in china, especially in places where remote areas.

Sedan chair history 

The earliest sedan chair in china can be traced back 4,000 years. The Chinese sedan chair then had various uses and restrictions on who they could carry. For instance, widowed or divorced women could only be taken by the sedan chair at night so that one would see them in it. Also, different types of sedan chairs were used by different people of other ranks. For instance, the sedan chair used to carry the nobles like the emperor was much classier with silk curtains. Ordinary sedans did not have many decorations, while the bridal sedan was colorful and elegant. The embroidery on it was also very encouraging and authentic. Though the sedan chair was mainly used for transport, it also had cultural value as it was associated with marriage.

When was the sedan chair invented in china?

sedan chair china

The Chinese sedan chair was invented over 4,000 years ago. At different times, it has had other names like Juan jiao (warm sedan), mian jiao (sleeping sedan)=, and Jian yu( shoulder sedan). The sedan chairs were made of wood, from wood and shaped into rectangular cabins. It was then topped with colorful fabrics. There were windows on two sides, and the curtains could be rolled up on one side.

What is it used for?

 In China, the sedan chair was used to transport noble, ordinary people, and brides. There were different kinds of sedan chairs for every one of these categories. The sacred or official sedan was used to transport the rich and powerful, like the emperor or memorial tablets. Secondly, the bamboo sedan was every day among ordinary people to commune with. Lastly, there was the bride’s sedan used during the marriage.

What is a bridal sedan?

ancient chinese sedan chair

In ancient china, the sedan was not only for transport purposes but was also linked to traditional practices like marriage. As the name suggests, the bridal sedan was used to carry brides to their weddings. It was a colorful sedan that four to eight people had as they gracefully walked the bride to their weddings. The bridal sedan was adorned with silk curtains and auspicious embroidery that gave it a very dashing look. Since it was rare for women to be seen on sedan chairs, being carried by a colorful sedan on your wedding day was the pride of every woman.


The Chinese sedan chair remains an essential aspect of the old Chinese tradition. Though they are no longer common due to the growth and development that came with westernization, they are still honored in china. Additionally, to date, some people still use the bridal sedan chair during marriage as a way to keep the traditions.

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