I’ve come across bits and pieces of Hong Kong academical dress in my studies and it is probably one of a few that has eluded me. From what I saw and see, there seems to be some identity crisis with its system of AD. So far, the older universities seem to have kept the design that was inherited by its British ancestors, but with the newer ones, there seem to be a sort of mish-mash of different styles; British, American, Thai, etc. It makes me find that the current systems of AD at certain HK unis are rather bizzare. Of course, I’ve just started doing a bit of looky-uppy and haven’t got the resources to do a full on thesis/FBS on such a subject. This is just a few notes that I wish to write down in ‘real time’ as I investigate into this apparent weirdness. I’ll leave the FBS to a HK colleague. Note that I do not have access to (or the time/effort to access) those old books on world AD of yesteryear, so this is pure web work.
First, let us start from the beginning and look at the first university in HK. This is the University of Hong Kong (HKU) chartered in 1911. It is a good starting point in this mini-adventure.
A quick search yields us this page: http://www.hku.hk/eroesite/cong/adloan.htm [NB: some of the photo links are broken but I think they have been used here: http://www3.hku.hk/congreg/index.php/academic_dress/proper_attire]
Clicking on the photos, we notice that the design of AD is British: the open gown, the cut of the MA gown sleeves (which look like Oxford shape), the Oxford simple-shape hood [s1], etc. The square is also British in cut with the tassel a tad longer but not lethally long like American ones. All in all, it seems that at least HK robemakers have kept to tradition but there seems to be some skimping when we look at the sleeve length of the MA gown.
The regs are here (last few pages): http://www.hku.hk/pubunit/cal2006/images/pt13.pdf [NB: Clearer table here: http://www3.hku.hk/congreg/index.php/academic_dress/robe]
A few points I noticed:
1. The DD hon. causa uses the same colour as the DD of London. We see also there are similarities with the MS. Could there be some London influence here?
2. The uni has an undergraduate gown!
3. Doctors undress gown is said to be a Oxon DPhil; does that mean the gimp gown [d4] or the festal pattern [d1]?
4. The PhD’s gown seems to be undress *and* dress all in one! [ed: wrong interpretations!]
Unfortuantely, after looking at recent photos, there has been a bad trend in closing the gowns up! One can clearly see that the gowns were made to be worn open so this causes are rather clumsy effect. This maybe influences from other unis.
Next we have The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), chartered 1963. The regs are found on p. 12 here: http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/iso/calendar/2007-08/English/theuniversity.htm. We can see illustrations but not actual photos. But from what we can see, there is a distinctive Thai influence with the addition of gold bands on the sleeves of the Officers. When we get to the doctoral degrees, we find a sort of mish-mash. The gowns are sort of half-British-half-American in their design. The bonnet is of course British. However, it gets a bit weirder as we come to the masters which have a ‘Mandarin collar’… I have yet to source a photo of what this really looks like in real life. It seems to be a Manchurian-Chinese addition that we can see in mainland practice. As for bachelors, it is the same as for masters but trimmed differently.
As for the hood, I have no idea what shape or form it takes as they don’t say or illustrate it. One has a feeling the mortarboard would be of an American design. A quick Google yields no photos.
NB: new search has come up with this page: http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/cpr/cong/academic_dress.htm. At last we can see that the doctoral gown is Oxford pattern [d2] worn with a Cambridge pattern hood [f1]. The BA and MA gowns are interesting. They are neither American or British but in fact a sort of reinvention of the Cheongsam (a Manchurian garb). This explains the ‘Mandarin collar’ description. The facings are 2″ velvet which continues around the collar itself. There is no gathered yoke and the closure is by ‘Chinese buttons’. The cuffs are also edged with velvet. The hood is a weird cut of the Burgon shape [s2] for the MA and for the BA it is clearly Oxford shape [s1].
Next to be chartered is The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in 1991. Unfortuantely, I could not locate the regs on the Calendar, nor find any substantial photos for their AD. The closest I got was this page: https://www.ab.ust.hk/cso/comm_souv_gownsize07.htm but the links were broken! Oh poo.
However, I did find a few pics in the news section: http://www.ust.hk/eng/news/press_20080604-605.html
We can see a sort of American-Thai scheme here. There three bars are American, the over-use of gold is Thai. The bonnet is British…
Ah! I have found some videos of past Congregations at last!
Interesting. The squares look British but with an American-like tassel. The hoods are American in design, also as is the yellow velvet for science, as are the gowns. It is safe to assume that the ICC has had some influence on this uni. This is rather strange as this institution was founded before 1997 and I would have thought that the design would be somehow more British. But owing to a great deal of American AD in the faculty in the video, this may have influenced the design. But the Chancellor’s gowns remain a mish-mash.
NB: I have managed to source the photos of what the AD looks like here: https://www.ab.ust.hk/cso/comm_souv_gownsize08.htm. The BA gown is a basic bachelors pattern (with short sleeve points) closed up like American ones. The hood is [s1] with a soft point to the liripipe. The MA gown and hood is the same patterns as the BA. The doctoral gown is American with the three velvet bars on the sleeves (the bell sleeves are in the classical Oxford cut rather than the American ‘pudding-sleeves’ that are gathered at the wrist. Hood is in the American pattern I think.