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Han Chinese clothing or Hanfu ( ), also known as Hanzhuang (漢裝), Huafu (華服), or guzhuang (古裝, meaning "ancient clothing"), and sometimes referred in English sources simply as Silk Robe (especially those worn by the gentry) or Chinese Silk Robe refers to the historical dress of the Han Chinese people, which was worn for millennia before the conquest by the Manchus and the establishment of the Qing Dynastymarker in 1644. The term Hanfu derives from the Book of Han, which says, "then many came to the Court to pay homage and were delighted at the clothing style of the Han [Chinese]."

Han Chinese clothing is presently worn only as a part of historical reenactment, festivals, hobby, coming of age/rite of passage ceremonies, ceremonial clothing worn by religious priests, or cultural exercise and can be frequently seen on Chinese television series, films and other forms of media entertainment. However, there is currently a movement in Chinamarker and overseas Chinese communities to revive Han Chinese clothing in everyday life and incorporate in Chinese festivals or celebration.Some costumes commonly thought of as typically Chinese, such as the qipao, are the result of influence by laws (Queue Order) imposed by Manchurian rulers of the Qing Dynastymarker, and are regarded by some advocates as not being "traditionally" Han. Technically, the Qing dynasty and afterwards would be considered modern China, so the qipao would be modern clothing and not traditional. Today, most Han Chinese wear western-style clothing in everyday life. Some urbanites wear modified or modernized traditional clothes, while many in the countryside still use distinctive peasant dress.

Neighboring countries clothing, such as the Japanesemarker kimono and the Vietnamesemarker áo tứ thân, were all influenced by Hanfu, as historically these countries were part of the Sinosphere.

History

Hanfu has a history of more than three millennia, and is said to have been worn by the legendary Yellow Emperor. From the beginning of its history, Hanfu (especially in elite circles) was inseparable from silk, supposedly discovered by the Yellow Emperor’s consort, Leizu. The first solidly historical dynasty known of in Chinamarker, the Shang Dynasty (c.1600 BC-1000 BC), developed the rudiments of Hanfu; it consisted of a yi, a narrow-cuffed, knee-length tunic tied with a sash, and a narrow, ankle-length skirt, called shang, worn with a bixi, a length of fabric that reached the knees. Vivid primary colors and green were used, due to the degree of technology at the time.

The dynasty to follow the Shang, the Western Zhou Dynasty, established a strict hierarchical society that used clothing as a status meridian, and inevitably, the height of one’s rank influenced the ornateness of a costume. Such markers included the length of a skirt, the wideness of a sleeve and the degree of ornamentation. In addition to these class-oriented developments, the Hanfu became looser, with the introduction of wide sleeves and jade decorations hung from the sash which served to keep the yi closed. The yi was essentially wrapped over, in a style known as jiaoling youren, or wrapping the right side over before the left, because of the initially greater challenge to the right-handed wearer (the Chinese discouraged left-handedness like many other historical cultures, considering it unnatural and unfortunate).

In the Eastern Zhou Dynasty, the "deep robe" (shenyi) appeared a combination of tunic and skirt. The upper and lower halves were cut separately but sewn as a single unit. An additional change was the shaping of the left side of the costume into a corner, fastened on the chest. Perhaps because of Confucian influence, disapproving of a hierarchical society in favour of social mobility based on personal merit, the shenyi was swiftly adopted. There still existed an elite however, and they monopolised the more ornate fabrics and grandiose details.

Standard Style

Garments

The style of Han Chinese clothing can be summarized as containing garment elements that are arranged in distinctive and sometime specific ways. This may be different from the traditional garment of other ethnic groups in China, most notably the Manchurian-influenced Chinese clothes, the qipao, which is popularly assumed to be the solely recognizable style of "traditional" Chinese garb. A comparison of the two styles can be seen as follows:

Component Han Manchu
Upper Garment Consist of "yi" (), which have loose lapels and are open Consist of "pao" (), which have secured lapels around the neck and no front openings
Lower Garment Consist of skirts called "chang/shang" () Consist of pants or trousers called "ku" ()
Collars Generally, diagonally crossing each other, with the left crossing over the right Parallel vertical collars with parallel diagonal lapels, which overlap
Sleeves Long and loose Narrow and tight
Buttons Sparingly used and concealed inside the garment Numerous and prominently displayed
Fittings Belts and sashes are used to close, secure, and fit the garments around the waist Flat ornate buttoning systems are typically used to secure the collar and fit the garment around the neck and upper torso


A complete Hanfu garment is assembled from several pieces of clothing into an attire:
  • Yi (): Any open cross-collar garment, and worn by both sexes
  • Pao (): Any closed full-body garment, worn only by men in Hanfu
  • Ru (): Open cross-collar shirt
  • Shan (): Open cross-collar shirt or jacket that is worn over the yi
  • Qun () or shang (): Skirt for women and men, respectively
  • Ku (): Trousers or pants


People are also able to accessorize with tassels and jade pendants or various ornaments hung from the belt or sash, known as pei ().

Hats and headwear

On top of the garments, hats (for men) or hairpieces (for women) may be worn. One can often tell the profession or social rank of someone by what they wear on their heads. The typical male hat or cap is called a jin (巾) for commoners and guan (冠) for the privileged. Officials and academics have a separate set of hats for them, typically the putou (幞頭), the wushamao (烏紗帽), the si-fang pingding jin (四方平定巾; or simply, fangjin: 方巾) and the Zhuangzi jin (莊子巾). A typical hairpiece for women is a ji (笄) but there are more elaborate hairpieces.

Traditionally, Chinese men wear their hats indoors as well as outdoors unlike their Western counterparts. This is mainly because most hats are too impractical to take off and carry around.

Style

Another type of Han Chinese Shenyi (深衣) commonly worn from the pre-Shang periods to the Han Dynasty.
This form is known as the zhiju (直裾) and worn primarily by men
Han-Chinese clothing had changed and evolved with the fashion of the days since its commonly assumed beginnings in the Shang dynasty. Many of the earlier designs are more gender-neutral and simple in cuttings. Later garments incorporate multiple pieces with men commonly wearing pants and women commonly wearing skirts. Clothing for women usually accentuates the body's natural curves through wrapping of upper garment lapels or binding with sashes at the waist.

Each dynasty has their own styles of Hanfu as they evolved and only few styles are 'fossilized'.

Informal wear

Types include tops (yi) and bottoms (divided further into pants and skirts for both genders, with different terminologies qun for females and shang for males), and one-piece robes that wrap around the body once or several times (shenyi).

  • Shenyi (深衣): a long full body garment
*Quju (曲裾): diagonal body wrapping
*Zhiju (直裾): straight lapels
  • Zhongyi (中衣) or zhongdan (中單): inner garments, mostly white cotton or silk
  • Shanqun (衫裙): a short coat with a long skirt
  • Ruqun (襦裙): a top garment with a separate lower garment or skirt
  • Kuzhe (褲褶): a short coat with trousers
  • Zhiduo/zhishen (直裰/直身): a Ming Dynasty style robe, similar to a zhiju shenyi but with vents at the side and 'stitched sleeves' (i.e. the sleeve cuff is closed save a small opening for the hand to go through)
Two traditional forms of ruqun (襦裙), a type of Han Chinese clothing worn by women.
Cuffs and sleeves on the upper garment may be tighter or looser depending on style.
A short skirt or weighted braid (with weight provided by a jade or gold pendant) is sometimes worn to improve aesthetics or comfort of the basic ruqun.


A typical set of Hanfu can consist of two or three layers. The first layer of clothing is mostly the zhongyi (中衣) which is typically the inner garment much like a Western T-shirt and pants. The next layer is the main layer of clothing which is mostly closed at the front. There can be an optional third layer which is often an overcoat called a zhaoshan which is open at the front. More complicated sets of Hanfu can have many more layers.

For footwear, white socks and black cloth shoes (with white soles) are the norm, but in the past, shoes may have a front face panel attached to the tip of the shoes. Daoists, Buddhists and Confucians may have white stripe chevrons.

Semi-formal wear

A piece of Hanfu can be "made semi-formal" by the addition of the following appropriate items:
  • Chang/shang: a pleated skirt
  • Bixi (蔽膝): long front cloth panel attached from the waist belt
  • Zhaoshan (罩衫): long open fronted coat
  • Guan or any formal hats


Generally, this form of wear is suitable for meeting guests or going to meetings and other special cultural days. This form of dress is often worn by the nobility or the upper-class as they are often expensive pieces of clothing, usually made of silks and damasks. The coat sleeves are often deeper than the shenyi to create a more voluminous appearance.



Formal wear

In addition to informal and semi-formal wear, there is a form of dress that is worn only at certain special occasions (like important sacrifices or religious activities) or by special people who are entitled to wear them (such as officials and emperors).

Formal garments may include:
  • Xuanduan (玄端): a very formal dark robe; equivalent to the Western black tie or white tie
  • Daopao/Fusha (道袍/彿裟): Taoist/Buddhist priests' full dress ceremonial robes
  • Yuanlingshan (圓領衫), lanshan (襴衫) or panlingpao (盤領袍): closed, round-collared robe; mostly used for official or academical dress


The most formal Hanfu that one can wear is the xuanduan (sometimes called yuanduan 元端 ), which consists of a black or dark blue top garment that runs to the knees with long sleeve (often with white piping), a bottom red chang, a red bixi (which can have a motif and/or be edged in black), an optional white belt with two white streamers hanging from the side or slightly to the front called peishou (佩綬), and a long black guan. Additionally, wearers may carry a long jade gui (圭) or wooden hu (笏) tablet (used when greeting royalty). This form of dress is mostly used in sacrificial ceremonies such as Ji Tian (祭天) and Ji Zu (祭祖), etc but is also appropriate for state occasions.

Those in the religious orders wear a plain middle layer garment followed by a highly decorated cloak or coat. Taoists have a 'scarlet gown' (絳袍) which is made of a large cloak sewn at the hem to create very long deep sleeves used in very formal rituals. They are often scarlet or crimson in color with wide edging and embroidered with intricate symbols and motifs such as the eight trigrams and the yin and yang Taiji symbol. Buddhist have a cloak with gold lines on a scarlet background creating a brickwork pattern which is wrapped around over the left shoulder and secured at the right side of the body with cords. There may be further decorations, especially for high priests.

Those in academia or officialdom have distinctive gowns. This varies over the ages but they are typically round collared gowns closed at the front. The most distinct feature is the headwear which has 'wings' attached. Only those who passed the civil examinations are entitled to wear them, but a variation of it can be worn by ordinary scholars and laymen and even for a groom at a wedding (but with no hat).

Court dress

Court dress is the dress worn at very formal occasions and ceremonies that are in the presence of a monarch (such as an enthronement ceremony). The entire ensemble of clothing can consist of many complex layers and look very elaborate. Court dress is similar to the xuanduan in components but have additional adornments and elaborate headwear. They are often brightly colored with vermillion and blue.

Court dress refers to:

Romanization Hanzi Definition
Chaofu 朝服 ceremonial dress of officials or nobility
Mianfu 冕服 ceremonial/enthronement dress for emperors


The practical use of court dress is now obsolete in the modern age since there is no reigning monarch in China anymore.

Specific Style

Tang Dynasty Hanfu

Tang Dynasty was a period of golden age for the people where culture and economy were thriving. Especially, the Women's dress and personal adornments saw some major reform in this era. Although it still continues the clothing of its predecessors such as Han and Sui dynasties, fashion during the Tang was also influenced by its cosmopolitan culture and arts. Communications and trades were flourishing between the Tang and many places and cultures and that it has changed the thoughts and concepts of the old practices. Before the Tang, Chinese women were restricted by the old Confucian code where women's statues were low and their clothing have to be conceal. However during the Tang, women's clothing gradually became broad and loose. Tang Dynasty was considered by some as another turning point for Hanfu.

Song Dynasty Hanfu

Some features of Tang Clothing carried into the Song Dynasty Such as court customs. Song court customs often use red color for their garments with black leather shoe and hats.Collar edges and sleeve edges of all clothes that have been excavated were decorated with laces or embroidered patterns. Such clothes were decorated with patterns of peony, camellia, plum blossom, and lily, etc. Song Empress often had three to five distinctive Jewelry-like marks on their face (Two side of the cheek,other two next to the eyebrows and one on the forehead). Although some of Song clothing have similarities with previous dynasties, some unique characteristics separate it from the rest. Many of Song Clothing goes into Yuan and Ming.

Ming Dynasty Hanfu

Ming Dynasty also brought many changes to its clothing as many dynasties do. They implemented metal buttons and the collar changed from the symmetrical type of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) to the main circular type. Compared with the costume of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the proportion of the upper outer garment to lower skirt in the Ming Dynasty was significantly inverted. Since the upper outer garment was shorter and the lower garment was longer, the jacket gradually became longer to shorten the length of the exposed skirt. Young ladies in the mid Ming Dynasty usually preferred to dress in these waistcoats. The waistcoats in the Qing Dynasty were transformed from those of the Yuan Dynasty. During the Ming Dynasty, Confucian codes and ideals was popularized and it has significant effect on clothing.

Ethnic identity

According to Tang Dynasty scholar Kong Yingda's official commentary to Zuo Zhuan and Shang Shu, Chinese clothing plays an important role in the Chinese ethnic identity. It says, "In China, there is the grandeur of rites and social conduct; that is why it is called Xia (夏). There is the beauty of dress and decoration; this is called Hua (華) ." The words Hua and Xia combine to form the word Huaxia (華夏), which is a name that is often used to represent the Chinese civilization.

Gallery

File:China.Terracotta statues007.jpg|A female servant and male advisor in Chinese silk robes, ceramic figurines from the Western Han Period (202 BC – 9 AD)File:Nswag, dinastia han,figurina dipinta di danzatrice.JPG|A Han Dynasty (202 BCE – 220 CE) pottery statuette of a female dancerImage:TangGaozu.jpg|Yuanlingshan robes of a Tang emperorImage:Court Ladies of the Tang.jpg|Court ladies of the Tang from Li Xianhui's tomb, Qianling Mausoleummarker, dated 706.Image:Chou Fang 003.jpg|A painting of Tang Dynasty women playing with a dog, by artist Zhou Fang, 8th century.File:Empress of Zhenzong of Song.jpg|A Song Dynasty empress, wife of Emperor Zhenzong of SongImage:B Song Dynasty Empress of Qinzong.JPG|Imperial Portrait of the empress and wife to Emperor Qinzong of (1100–1161) of the Song Dynasty in China.Image:China's Ming Dynasty Empress Xiaoan.JPG|A Ming Dynastymarker portrait of an EmpressImage:Noblewoman5.jpg|A Ming Dynastymarker portrait of a noblewoman wearing yuanlingshan, xiapei and phoenix crownImage:Taopriest.jpg|Taoist priest in red colored gownFile:Tanghanfu.jpg|Tang Dynasty Styled Hanfu


See also



Notes



References

  • Zhou Xibao (1984), 【中國古代服飾史】 Zhongguo Gudai Fushi Shi (History of Ancient Chinese Costume), Beijing: Zhongguo Xiju.
  • Zhou, Xun; Gao, Chunming; The Chinese Costumes Research Group (1984), 5000 Years of Chinese Costume, Hong Kong: The Commercial Press. ISBN 9620750217
  • 許嘉璐 Xu Jialu (1991), 【中國古代禮俗辭典】 Zhongguo Gudai Lisu Cidian (Dictionary of Rituals and Customs of Ancient China).
  • 沈從文 Shen Congwen (1999, 2006), 【中國古代服飾研究】 Zhongguo Gudai Fushi Yanjiu (Researches on Ancient Chinese Costumes), Shanghai: Shanghai Century Publishing Group. ISBN 7-80678-329-6
  • 黃能馥, 陳娟娟 Huang Nengfu and Chen Juanjuan (1999), 【中華歷代服飾藝術】 Zhonghua Lidai Fushi Yishu (The Art of Chinese Clothing Through the Ages), Beijing.
  • 華梅 Hua, Mei (2004), 【古代服飾】 Gudai Fushi (Ancient Costume), Beijing: Wenmu Chubanshe. ISBN 7-5010-1472-8


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