[An Overview of Traditional Chinese Dress – Hanfu]
By: WANG Qi, Betty (Hall 10)
Translated by: CHIANG Man Ying, Michelle (Hall 10)
Image: Global Competition Series, New Tang Dynasty Television
There is an old saying – “China is named ‘Xia’, for its emphasis in etiquette; also named ‘Hua’, for its exquisite apparel”. Speaking of traditional Chinese dresses, what brings to your mind? Qipao? Tang suits?
Not many of us know, but both the mentioned attires are products of the Chinese and Western combination. The Han Clothing ‘Hanfu’ – is the legitimate national dress of the Han Chinese, the ethnic group that makes up over 90% of China’s population.
It may ring a bell with you if I tell you that Hanfu is what you usually see in the ancient Chinese dramas on TVB Channel at night. From imperial to elegant, alluring to casual, Hanfu comes in diversed conditions.
Here are some general knowledge about this attire:
- Hanfu usually comes in several layers. It is made up of a top, a bottom (either pants or skirts for both genders), and a one-piece robe that wraps around the body at the waist. The major components are Zhongyi (inner garments), Shanqun (a short coat with a long skirt), Ruqun (a top garment with a separate lower garment or skirt), Kuzhe (a short coat with trousers), Zhiduo (a long full body garment with vents at the side and ‘stitched sleeves) and Daopao (Taoist/Buddhist priests’ full dress ceremonial robes).
- Even though Hanfu indicates the ‘Han’ dynasty, the attire was evolved to create different styles in different dynasties. It also had a major influence in neighboring cultural costumes such as the Japanese kimono.
- There is a definite rule when one wears Hanfu. The collar must be crossed from the right over the left. If one’s collar is crossed from left to the right, he/she would be a dead one.
In recent years, people are bringing back the traditional Hanfu to festivals, interest clubs and even cosplay events. But still, we seldom have the chance to be really clothed in such a traditional dress.
To think about it, wearing it once in a while might be a good idea. After all, it makes us ponder over our own cultural identity, and over the question ‘who are we’.
【華服風韻 ── 你對漢服知多少】
文: 王琪 (舍堂十)