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Chinese pillow history

Thousands of years ago, Chinese people realised that nothing on the earth lasts forever, including human life. Having the perfect pillow was a way to improve sleep and reach a grand old age. But there’s more to sleep than health, and sleep traditions show many aspects of Chinese culture, from studying to falling in love.

Words by Yiling Zhang

  • In pictures

About the author

Yiling Zhang

Yiling Zhang is a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota with a specialisation in dress, history and culture. She received a Design Graduate Fellowship at the university to pursue her research interests in fashion in China and everyday dress. She holds an MA from the Royal College of Art, after studying Design History and Material Culture at the college and the Victoria and Albert Museum.