100 books like Chinese Clothing

By Hua Mei,

Here are 100 books that Chinese Clothing fans have personally recommended if you like Chinese Clothing. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Naxi Dongba Pictograph Dictionary

Laura Rahme Author Of The Ming Storytellers

From my list on China’s Ming Dynasty.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an honours graduate in aerospace engineering and psychology and I have written five historical novels. My debut novel, The Ming Storytellers, is set during China’s Ming dynasty and was well-reviewed by the Historical Novel Society. To pen this 600-page saga, I spent six years researching the Ming dynasty while studying a year of mandarin. I have travelled to Beijing, along the Great Wall, and to China’s southwestern province of Yunnan. Being a descendant of the Vietnamese royal family gave me access to rich genealogical sources passed down from my scholarly ancestors. These stories of concubines, eunuchs, and mandarins made the past come alive, complementing my research with plausible drama.

Laura's book list on China’s Ming Dynasty

Laura Rahme Why did Laura love this book?

While researching the Ming dynasty and its tea horse trade, I had the joy of traveling to Lijiang in China’s Yunnan province. Lijiang is home to the Naxi (or Nakhi) whose Mu clan rose in prominence during the Ming dynasty. The Naxi people are unique in that they employ the world’s only living pictographic writing system. 

This tiny dictionary is filled with pictographs and their meaning, both in English and in Mandarin. Pictographs are grouped by topics significant to the Naxi culture, such as behaviour, family life, housing, and plants. This book extends one’s view of China, a country which should not be perceived as purely populated by the Han ethnic majority. The common symbols employed in the Naxi language provide valuable insights into the Naxi value system.

By He Pinzheng,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Naxi Dongba Pictograph Dictionary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Eunuchs in the Ming Dynasty

Laura Rahme Author Of The Ming Storytellers

From my list on China’s Ming Dynasty.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an honours graduate in aerospace engineering and psychology and I have written five historical novels. My debut novel, The Ming Storytellers, is set during China’s Ming dynasty and was well-reviewed by the Historical Novel Society. To pen this 600-page saga, I spent six years researching the Ming dynasty while studying a year of mandarin. I have travelled to Beijing, along the Great Wall, and to China’s southwestern province of Yunnan. Being a descendant of the Vietnamese royal family gave me access to rich genealogical sources passed down from my scholarly ancestors. These stories of concubines, eunuchs, and mandarins made the past come alive, complementing my research with plausible drama.

Laura's book list on China’s Ming Dynasty

Laura Rahme Why did Laura love this book?

My favorite Ming dynasty source. It is rich with details on the eunuch institution during the Ming dynasty including its supply chain— the parts of society and of the world where eunuchs were historically drawn. Described here, are the various agencies within the Beijing Forbidden City where Ming dynasty eunuchs worked: Carpentry, Palace Servants, Palace Foods, Royal Clothing, the Nursing Home, and others, including a Toilet Paper agency. Readers not only gain insights on the imperial palace’s operations, but also on the eunuch ranking system, the emperors’ policies concerning eunuchs, and the rise of powerful eunuchs in the Ming secret police (Eastern Depot) and in Ming diplomacy. The latter came to its apogee with Admiral Zheng He, himself a eunuch, leading the Ming fleet during seven world voyages.

By Shih-Shan Henry Tsai,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eunuchs in the Ming Dynasty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This study of Chinese eunuchs illuminates the entire history of the Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644, and provides broad information on various aspects of pre-modern China.


Book cover of 1421: The Year China Discovered America

Laura Rahme Author Of The Ming Storytellers

From my list on China’s Ming Dynasty.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an honours graduate in aerospace engineering and psychology and I have written five historical novels. My debut novel, The Ming Storytellers, is set during China’s Ming dynasty and was well-reviewed by the Historical Novel Society. To pen this 600-page saga, I spent six years researching the Ming dynasty while studying a year of mandarin. I have travelled to Beijing, along the Great Wall, and to China’s southwestern province of Yunnan. Being a descendant of the Vietnamese royal family gave me access to rich genealogical sources passed down from my scholarly ancestors. These stories of concubines, eunuchs, and mandarins made the past come alive, complementing my research with plausible drama.

Laura's book list on China’s Ming Dynasty

Laura Rahme Why did Laura love this book?

Long subject to debate due to its assertion that China discovered America, this book remains an astounding Ming dynasty source that should not be overlooked based on a single controversial claim. It has a decidedly maritime, diplomatic, and economic focus, offering a comprehensive – often technical – account of the 1421 Ming fleet’s expedition with attention to historical figures like Admiral Zheng He. It vividly paints Ming dynasty China as an economic might that traded extensively for various world products and received tributes and envoys from places as far as Malindi in southeast Africa. Published in 2002, the book has a certain prophetic quality: it highlights early Ming China’s trade dominance on the world stage as though Menzies sensed that history could repeat itself. Today, China is once again seen as an economic superpower.

By Gavin Menzies,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 1421 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On March 8, 1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen set sail from China to "proceed all the way to the ends of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas." When the fleet returned home in October 1423, the emperor had fallen, leaving China in political and economic chaos. The great ships were left to rot at their moorings and the records of their journeys were destroyed. Lost in the long, self-imposed isolation that followed was the knowledge that Chinese ships had reached America seventy years before Columbus and had circumnavigated the globe a…


Book cover of When China Ruled the Seas: The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne, 1405-1433

Laura Rahme Author Of The Ming Storytellers

From my list on China’s Ming Dynasty.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an honours graduate in aerospace engineering and psychology and I have written five historical novels. My debut novel, The Ming Storytellers, is set during China’s Ming dynasty and was well-reviewed by the Historical Novel Society. To pen this 600-page saga, I spent six years researching the Ming dynasty while studying a year of mandarin. I have travelled to Beijing, along the Great Wall, and to China’s southwestern province of Yunnan. Being a descendant of the Vietnamese royal family gave me access to rich genealogical sources passed down from my scholarly ancestors. These stories of concubines, eunuchs, and mandarins made the past come alive, complementing my research with plausible drama.

Laura's book list on China’s Ming Dynasty

Laura Rahme Why did Laura love this book?

Another much-loved book about the Ming dynasty’s naval fleet but this time, all seven maritime expeditions led by Admiral Zheng He are dutifully described. It outlines the evolution in ancient Chinese ship construction which saw the development of the formidable Ming ‘treasure fleet’. The reader can explore the Chinese mariners’ lives and occupations at sea, their navigation techniques, Ming China’s world trade and its diplomatic relationships, and the Ming fleet’s fascinating destinations, including Champa (now South Vietnam), Sumatra, Kuli (Kozhikode in India), Mogadishu, Malindi, and Hormuz. Cultural and socio-political details relating to the period are seamlessly weaved into this account which closely follows the life and works of Admiral Zheng He.

By Louise Levathes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When China Ruled the Seas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A hundred years before Columbus and his fellow Europeans began making their way to the New World, fleets of giant Chinese junks commanded by the eunuch admiral Zheng He and filled with the empire's finest porcelains, lacquerware, and silk ventured to the edge of the world's `four corners.' It was a time of exploration and conquest, but it ended in a retrenchment so complete that less than a century later, it was a crime to go to sea in a multimasted ship. In When
China Ruled the Seas, Louise Levathes takes a fascinating and unprecedented look at this dynamic period…


Book cover of Worn: A People's History of Clothing

Clare Hunter Author Of Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle

From my list on needlework that will surprise and move you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have sewn since I was a child, taught by my mother to keep me out of mischief. From having the best-dressed dolls in the neighbourhood I graduated to making my own, sometimes outlandish, forms of fashion and then became a banner maker and community textile artist. Sewing is in my DNA and I love the tactile, rhythmic soothe of it. But I have long been curious about how, in the many books are published about needlework, very few ever mention why people sew. This is what fascinates me, the stories of sewing, because it is through its purpose that we discover the spirit that lies within it. 

Clare's book list on needlework that will surprise and move you

Clare Hunter Why did Clare love this book?

This is a brilliantly researched book which allowed me to accompany Sofi Thanhauser as she travelled across continents to unearth the origin and the fate of fabric production.  It made me realise the terrible damage done to our environment and to communities through colonialisation, exploitation, industrialisation, and our throw-away economy. Tracking how craft is being replaced with slave labour, how traditions are being eroded, and local economies destroyed in the pursuit of cheaper and greater textile production, Worn is not a comfortable read, but it is, for me, a reminder of the human cost involved in most of what I wear. 

By Sofi Thanhauser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Worn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A sweeping and captivatingly told history of clothing and the stuff it is made of—an unparalleled deep-dive into how everyday garments have transformed our lives, our societies, and our planet.

“We learn that, if we were a bit more curious about our clothes, they would offer us rich, interesting and often surprising insights into human history...a deep and sustained inquiry into the origins of what we wear, and what we have worn for the past 500 years."
—The Washington Post

In this panoramic social history, Sofi Thanhauser brilliantly tells five stories—Linen, Cotton, Silk, Synthetics, Wool—about the clothes we wear and…


Book cover of Suki's Kimono

Janelle Diller Author Of Mystery of the Thief in the Night: Mexico 1

From my list on with diverse and spunky characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

My dad was an adventure traveler, so I floated down the Amazon, rode chicken busses in rural Guatemala, and stepped on the Russian Steppes before I ever saw Big Ben. All that adventure as a kid engendered an insatiable curiosity about the amazing diversity of people and cultures in this world. Sadly, when I was growing up, most children’s books didn’t reflect this diversity. Not only should all children be able to see themselves on the pages of the books they read, it’s equally important that kids see children who aren’t just like they are. Consequently, adding cultural and ethnic diversity into kids' lit has become a passion for me. 

Janelle's book list on with diverse and spunky characters

Janelle Diller Why did Janelle love this book?

Suki is a treasure. She’s courageous and irrepressible and a perfect role model for every young girl of any nationality. Suki decides to wear a kimono to school on her first day of first grade. The kimono, a gift from her grandmother, is full of warm memories. As you can imagine, some of the other kids initially laugh at her—including her own sisters. But in the end, she wins her classmates over with an impromptu dance that captures the joy of a summer festival with her grandmother. I love how this spirited story teaches kids of any culture to embrace who they are. Stephane Jorisch’s playful watercolor and ink illustrations capture the spirit of the book perfectly.

By Chieri Uegaki, Stéphane Jorisch (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Suki's Kimono as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

Suki's favorite possession is her blue cotton kimono. A gift from her obachan, it holds special memories of her grandmother's visit last summer. And Suki is going to wear it on her first day back to school --- no matter what anyone says.When it's Suki's turn to share with her classmates what she did during the summer, she tells them about the street festival she attended with her obachan and the circle dance that they took part in. In fact, she gets so carried away reminiscing that she's soon humming the music and dancing away, much to the delight of…


Book cover of Jacob's New Dress

Jacqueline B. Toner Author Of Yes I Can!: A Girl and Her Wheelchair

From my list on acceptance and empathy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved children. I love tiny babies just discovering the world around them. I love elementary-age kids who are taking pride in developing new skills and learning how to deal with challenges. I love teens who are questioning and rethinking the things they thought they knew. I also love the science and practice of psychology (my profession for over thirty years) and, I love books. To date, I have written nine books. My audience ranges from preschool to high school and topics include strategies to understand and cope with problems as well as psychology as a topic of study.

Jacqueline's book list on acceptance and empathy

Jacqueline B. Toner Why did Jacqueline love this book?

This gentle picture book introduces us to Jacob who wants to dress up like his friend, Emily, and not in the costumes the other boys prefer. Despite being teased when he arrives at school wearing a dress fashioned from a towel, Jacob decides he wants a “real” dress. With support from his parents, he makes one of his own. Further teasing is met by Jacob’s expression of pride in his creation and refusal to compromise who he is. This colorful book promotes acceptance of gender nonconformance and can serve as an opener to discussions of the topic with young children.

By Sarah Hoffman, Ian Hoffman, Chris Case (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jacob's New Dress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

One of 10 Best Indie Picture Books of 2014, ForeWord Reviews
Runner-Up, 2014 New England Book Festival: Children's Books
2014 Distinguished List of the Association of Children's Librarians of Northern California
CCBC Choices 2015

An affirming story about gender nonconformity.

Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be. Some kids at school say he can't wear "girl" clothes, but Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. Can he convince his parents to let him wear what he wants? This heartwarming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by children who don't identify with traditional…


Book cover of Lena's Shoes Are Nervous: A First-Day-Of-School Dilemma

Jennifer E. Morris Author Of Much Too Much Birthday (Maud the Koala)

From my list on worried or anxious children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a children’s book creator and a parent. Raising an anxious child can be challenging. Events that many children find fun and exciting can be overwhelming and scary for your child. Seemingly small changes in their daily routine can throw some youngsters into a swirl of emotions that is upsetting to them and to those who love them. When I was searching for picture books to help the young worrier in my life, I looked for books that acknowledged their distressing feelings while giving them some strategies with which to cope with their overwhelming emotions. That premise became the theme of my Maud the Koala book series. 

Jennifer's book list on worried or anxious children

Jennifer E. Morris Why did Jennifer love this book?

Lena isn’t worried about the first day of kindergarten - but her shoes are. In this clever story we see various parts of Lena’s wardrobe taking on various personalities, possibly mirroring parts of Lena’s own personality. Her outgoing blue dress is ready for a new adventure, her friendly headband wants everyone to work together, of course, her fearful footwear wants to stay home. But when Lena threatens to wear her slippers to school, will her shoes muster the courage to march forward? A creative and witty book about facing your fears.

By Keith Calabrese, Juana Medina (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lena's Shoes Are Nervous as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

In the tradition of School’s First Day of School, debut author Keith Calabrese and Pura Belpré Award winner Juana Medina share a sweet, universal story about a clever little girl whose shoes are nervous about the first day of school.

Today is a big day! Today, Lena starts kindergarten. She is very excited. But there’s just one problem…

Lena’s shoes are nervous.

Lena doesn’t want to miss out on her first day of school, but she can’t go without her favorite shoes! How can she convince them to be brave?


Book cover of Worn in New York: 68 Sartorial Memoirs of the City

Alyssa Hardy Author Of Worn Out: How Our Clothes Cover Up Fashion's Sins

From my list on style.

Why am I passionate about this?

Fashion has been the love of my life since I was a little kid pouring over magazines and watching shows on fashion TV in the middle of the night. But I’ve always known fashion is not about clothing, its about feeling and it’s about people. That’s why I love to read the stories about people who work in fashion, who have been impacted by fashion and those who love it just as much as I do. 

Alyssa's book list on style

Alyssa Hardy Why did Alyssa love this book?

If you prefer something more visual when it comes to books about style, Worn in New York is certainly that.

It’s a fun look at specific pieces of clothing that were, well, worn in New York by influential people. Each one is a first-person account of a specific item and it corresponds to a photo of the piece. One of my favorites is the story and image of actress Aubrey Plaza’s page uniform that she apparently stole when she worked at NBC. 

By Emily Spivack,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Worn in New York as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The boots a passenger had on when his plane landed on the Hudson River.
The tank top Andy Warhol's assistant wore to one of their nightclub outings together.
The jacket a taxi driver put on to feel safe as he worked the night shift.


These and over sixty other clothing-inspired narratives make up Worn in New York, the latest volume from New York Times bestselling author Emily Spivack. In these first-person accounts, contributors in and out of the public eye share surprising, personal, wild, poignant, and funny stories behind a piece of clothing that reminds them of a significant moment…


Book cover of The Business of Beauty: Gender and the Body in Modern London

Lucy Jane Santos Author Of Half Lives: The Unlikely History of Radium

From my list on jobs for women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer interested in the odd areas where science and consumerism touch – particularly where this intersects with women workers. My debut book Half Lives: The Unlikely History of Radium tells the history of radioactivity through the eyes of the people who made, bought, and sold products laced with radium in the 20th century. The follow-up title will explore the deadly element Uranium.

Lucy's book list on jobs for women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

Lucy Jane Santos Why did Lucy love this book?

Am starting with a tiny cheat as this book isn’t just about women – although it is about the beauty industry which is usually associated with women. What this book is -however – is an exploration about the history of beauty, consumption and gender in Victorian and Edwardian London. It is packed with stories of women beauty salon owners like Sarah “Madame” Rachel Leverson, Helen Rubinstein and Anna Ruppert. I’ve been working on a book that features Anna Rupert and Clark’s book has been an invaluable resource and a great in depth study on the subject.

By Jessica P. Clark,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Business of Beauty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Business of Beauty is a unique exploration of the history of beauty, consumption, and business in Victorian and Edwardian London. Illuminating national and cultural contingencies specific to London as a global metropolis, it makes an important intervention by challenging the view of those who-like their historical contemporaries-perceive the 19th and early 20th centuries as devoid of beauty praxis, let alone a commercial beauty culture.

Contrary to this perception, The Business of Beauty reveals that Victorian and Edwardian women and men developed a number of tacit strategies to transform their looks including the purchase of new goods and services from…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in clothing, China, and the Ming dynasty?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about clothing, China, and the Ming dynasty.

Clothing Explore 35 books about clothing
China Explore 574 books about China
The Ming Dynasty Explore 18 books about the Ming dynasty