Clothing and accessories are worn not only for protection and decency, but for decorative purposes. They can also be indicators of a person's status and rank. If you are interested in knowing more about ancient costumes of China, you should not miss the exhibition 'Costume and Textiles' at the Chinese Antiquities Gallery on the third floor of the Hong Kong Museum of Art. The exhibition features costumes of the Qing Dynasty and includes the dragon robe, court necklaces, purses and other accessories. Did you know that the dragon robe was part of the official costume known as Ji Fu (festive costume) worn by the emperor, court members, imperial dukes and all officials on many occasions? The emperor and members of the imperial household had dragons with five long claws on their robes, while officials and others could only use dragons with four claws - as long as they had permission. The emperors also liked wearing court necklaces which seem to be derived from the traditional Buddhist rosary. As their robes were not fitted with pockets, they had to wear a belt or carry personal belongings, including knives, snuff bottles and tobacco pipes. Their purses were finely embroidered and decorated with jade, ivory and bamboo. Most Qing women favoured headdresses and hair ornaments of jade, gold and silver.