China Bouquet –Traditional Chinese Costume in Modern Times
“China’s rituals and etiquettes make Chinese people who they are, and their beautiful clothes make them glorious.”
China has been known as “a state of ceremonies” and “a well-dressed country” since ancient times. During those eras, traditional costume defined Chinese culture.The shape, structure, patterns and colors of clothes and accessories were not just a matter of regime, functions and aesthetics; moreover, it reflected China’s history, culture and values.
“Hanfu”, also known as “Han Costume”, is more than clothes and accessories from the Han Dynasty. It encompasses the entire dress code and clothing system of the traditional Han ethnic group. A complete set of hats, and clothing were formed during Han Dynasty based on the Four Books and Five Classics.Circular-cut long sleeves represent “heaven”, displaying a sense of graceful generosity and elegant movement. Cross collars represent “earth”, which conducted people to follow discipline. The belts on the gowns extend to the ankle symbolize integrity, and the hems drop down to the ground represent balance.Traditional Chinese costume conveys the characteristics of the Han ethnic group，which is quiet and poised. Their aesthetic taste is simple, natural, implicit and mild.
The Spring and Autumn Period’s shenyi attire, the Han Dynasty’s quju, till Ming’s round-collar robes are all legacies of traditional Chinese costume, which have been passed down for thousands of years.The dyeing, weaving and the embroidery techniques of each dynasty possess its own unique charisma.
Women used to tie their hair up and wear silk. Some are in a narrow-sleeved blouse with a long dress, and some wear red flower ruqun.Either way, their costume may bring one back to the era Bai Juyi once wrote “the wealthy women from Red Mansion wearing silk dress with golden embroidery.”
In the beginning of the 21st century, increasingly, the young generation has recognized the beauty of traditional Chinese costume; they are also proud to carry on the legacy of Chinese culture. Today, designers have worked to reproduce traditional Chinese costume that is better suited for modern people.Some summarized the core of Hanfu, while others continued to use the traditional ways. Some artists even created crossover artworks with Hanfu elements.
Hanfu reflects the aesthetic standards for traditional Chinese clothing and accessories.The renaissance of an ethnic group starts with costume. Traditional Chinese costume is just the starting point; one day, the profoundness of Chinese culture will be comprehensively revived.