2,000 Years of the Necktie
China's First Emperor

by David Johnson

NECKTIES
THROUGH THE AGES
 
Introduction

210 B.C.
China's First Emperor

113 A.D.
Did Romans Wear Ties?

17th Century
Croatian Cravats for the King of France

Cravats Go to England

Real Men Wear Lace

18th Century
Cowboy Bandannas from India

Sailing the Seven Seas

19th Century
Business Suit Takes Shape

Cambridge & Oxford School Ties

Ties Fit for Officers and Gentlemen

Bow Ties Center Stage

A Tie Singing Dixie

Lord Byron's Legacy

Women Tie the Knot, Too!

20th Century
Paris Presents Designer Ties

Celebrities & Rock Stars

Ascots Cross Finish Line

Bolo: The Tie That Won the West

Turtleneck: The Anti-Tie

 
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The earliest known version of the necktie has been found in the massive mausoleum of China's first emperor, Shih Huang Ti, who was buried in 210 B.C. Desperately afraid of death, the emperor wanted to slaughter an entire army to accompany him into the next world. His advisers ultimately persuaded him to take life-size replicas of the soldiers instead.

The result is one of the marvels of the ancient world. Unearthed in 1974 near the ancient capital city of Xian, the tomb contained an astonishing 7,500 life-size terracotta replicas of Shih Huang Ti's famed fighting force. Legions of officers, soldiers, archers and horsemen, all carved in meticulous detail, guard the emperor's sarcophagus. The armor, uniforms, hair, and facial expressions of the soldiers are reproduced in exquisite detail. Each figure is different - except in one respect: all wear neck cloths.

An ancient mystery

Historians say other records indicate the Chinese did not wear ties, so why the emperor's guards wore carefully wrapped silk cloths remains a mystery. Since silk was a great luxury, the cloths could indicate the ultimate honor Shih Huang Ti bestowed on his soldiers; they were trusted enough to guard him until the end of time.

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