The Nail Guards of Zhen Huan Zhuan
I am always curious about the beautiful jewelry and fashion that are in the ancient Chinese dramas. The Legend of Zhen Huan is full of beautiful details, and the fingernail guards are no exception!
It is rather hard to find information about Qing Dynasty fashion, but I found a wonderful article which explains the significance of Chinese nail guards in HERE, which I will reference now. 🙂
So, what is a “nail guard”? As you can see in the picture above, the concubines in the LZH wear long pointed covers on their fingers. I thought this was mainly just for looks but according to the article, these nail guards are also a symbol of status because they showed that the women did not have to work. The nail guards also have some practical use, as they were supposed to protect the women’s fingernails. Longer fingernails were also a sign of status.
Although it’s hard for me to find good screenshots of the nail guards, they are very prominent throughout the drama. Almost every concubine is wearing them! I find them to be very elegant because it shows how graceful the women’s hands are. When they move their hands, they move with extra care and grace because of the dainty nail guards. And they are freaking LONG, just look at that one the Empress is wearing! Honestly I really want to try one on but I know I would never wear one in everyday life because I’m pretty sure I would poke my eyes out. T____T
I think it is also interesting that the nail guards are still a fashion accessory that can be used to suit each concubine’s personality and style. Some are made of gold with what seems to be an inlaid design. Others are silver and have floral designs. In the case of the Empress, her golden nail guards make her look regal and dignified. Zhen Huan’s golden nail guards (first pic) may look more luxurious. Mei Zhuang’s nail guards also suit her graceful composure.
In this picture here you can get a closer look at how they wear the nail guards on their fingers. Many of them in the drama do not actually enclose the entire finger.
*Update*: Got another good shot of Zhen Huan’s nail guards! ^