Han Couture Clothing Style
What is Han Couture?
Hanfu--Han Couture（漢服）or Han Chinese（漢衣）Clothing, also sometimes known as
Hanzhuang (漢裝),Huafu (華服) 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 Dynasty 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]."
Hanfu—Couture 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 China and overseas
Chinese communities to revive Han Chinese clothing in daily life and incorporate it in Chinese
festivals or celebrations.
The concept of hanfu—Couture is distinguished from the broader concept of traditional Chinese
clothing. This excludes many changes and innovations in the dress of the Han Chinese people
since 1644, the founding of the Qing dynasty, on the basis that such changes were imposed by
force (such as through the Queue Order) or adopted through cultural influence from the ruling
Manc.hu ethnicity. Thus, the qipao, while widely regarded as an example of traditional Chinese
clothing, is not an example of hanfu—n Couture since it derives from a Manchu clothing style.
Today, most Han Chinese wear Western-style clothing in everyday life. Some urban residents in
China wear modified or modernized traditional clothing on some occasions, while many in the
countiyside still use distinctive peasant dress (though not necessarily identical with classical
Hanfu). The only significant population segment which wear hanfu regularly on a day-to-day
basis are religious priests and monks.
Han Conture History
Hanfu—Couture 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 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 chang, 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 HanFu( yi)--Couture was essentially wrapped over, in a style known as jiaoling youren, or
wrapping the right side over before the left.
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.
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