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Futou (襆頭), also known as the wushamao (烏紗帽), is the headwear of Ming dynasty officials, consisting of a black hat with two wing-like flaps of thin, oval-shaped boards on each side. According to the Da Ming-Hui Dian (大明會典), ordinary citizens are not allowed to wear this headdress unless attending wedding ceremonies or events involving any noble families/officials. In modern China, wushamao is commonly used as a metaphor for officials and government posts.

Ming dynasty portrait of officials wearing wushamao(烏紗帽)and robes with mandarin squares

The headwear of Song dynasty officials consisted of a black hat with two wing-like flaps. The thin flaps are stiff and straight and could extend up to almost a meter each. this kind of hat after the pandemic of covid-19 been used by some people for social distancing. ( look at Chinese ancient winged hats reintroduced for social distancing)

The founder of the Song dynasty, Emperor Taizu of Song, designed this so that his officials would be kept apart by the flaps and would not whisper to each other during assemblies.[citation needed] This claim is in dispute.

There were 5 main types of futou: “straight-feet” futou (also called “flat-feet”) which was worn by people of all social classes; “bent-feet” futou, “cross-feet” futou (Chinese交脚幞頭), “upward” type and “downwind” type. The term “feet” (simplified Chinesetraditional Chinesepinyinjiaolit. ‘feet’) is used to describe the hard ribbons used in it.

In the early Song dynasty, a type of it that was folded and tied at the front region of the head was worn by some people. This type of futou was called the “front-folded scarf”.

The “back-folded scarf”, a type futou that would be bent backward, started to be worn after the Shaosheng period.

During imperial court banquets, Song court officials would put flowers on their futou; this is referred as Flower pinning.


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