Garments Change in China Modern Times

Big Differences between Cities and Countryside

After the 1911 Revolution, the garments changed greatly, and the dresses and the official cap buttons were eliminated. Particularly, hair plait was cut off, but chi-pao / qipao (one-piece mandarin robe) still existed. The Blue Short Gown of schoolgirls was the main style, and it gradually became popular.

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Along with the emergence of cinema, film stars became eminent persons gradually. Shanghai City became the fashion center of women’s wear in China. The garments of Guangdong Province and Hong Kong became one of the branches of Shanghai City garments.

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Garments during the Republic of China period in (1912-1945)

The government specified formal dresses of men and women in the first year of the Republic of China (1912-1949). Men wore suits which were day suits and evening suits. Day suits were of Western style and Chinese style (e.g. long gown and mandarin jacket). There is collar for women formal dress and was long to the knee with buttons down the front. Skirts were decorated with cartouches in the front and back, both sides were sewn with pleats, and both ends had patterns of knots.
At the wedding ceremony, the urban girls were in full dress of silk, wrapped white gauze over the head and held a white bouquet to celebrate the wedding, while the rural girls still followed the tradition and wore red robes and a hat decorated with jewels, riding in red sedan .

490Girls wearing western style dresses to a wedding in Shanghai

During the period of the Republic of China, the government specified new dress code, and men wore western-style clothes and Sun Yat-sen’s uniform (Chinese tunic suit). These two styles of clothes were foreign styles, and most officials and intellectuals more usually wore them. White garments were worn in the summer, but black or dark garments were worn in other seasons. The style with a mandarin jacket over a long gown was still one of the common dressing styles. The student’s clothing with erect collar, three pockets and seven buttons were mainly the uniform of students of universities and colleges. The style with a sleeveless jacket or a waistcoat over a long gown was also a common style. In addition, the common dressing style of rural men and women was a jacket and trousers or covered with a ramie skirt (long or short small skirt fastened on body).

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Women’s costume changed greatly during the period, some kept the Qing Dynasty (1644-1840) style of trousers and clothes with curving front, some imitated western-style with a jacket and a skirt, most schoolgirls wore black silk skirts and short jackets that had a large front, a round lower hem and short sleeves to elbow. The common garments of social women were mainly Chi-pao / qipao.

The overall tendency of new garments was in two types: one type was the long Chi-pao / qipao was in solid color and made of fabric with laces and patterns were added to the edges. The small waistcoat and silk scarves were over the jacket. Other than qipao, the upper garment and lower skirt separated for other types of garments.

In the 1920s, people began to wear Chi-pao / qipao whose style was mostly the same as that of the Qing Dynasty. Later, the cuff was reduced gradually, and embroidered edge was not as broad as previously. By the end of the 1920s, dressing style was affected by Europe and America, and the style of chi-pao / qipao changed significantly. By the early 1930s, Chi-pao / qipao was very popular. The main changes of garments in that time were the modifications of collar, sleeves and length. The garments with high collar were popular at first, and the higher collar, the more popular. Gradually, garments with low collars began to be popular, and the lower collar, the more modern. Finally, people wore collarless and sleeveless Chi-pao / qipao.

 Influence of Foreign Costumes from 1930s to 1940s

With the import of foreign products into China, western life styles penetrated into the people’s life. Women living in big cities in China began to attend social events in the 1930s and 1940s. This resulted the change of social morals accordingly. Women wore western-style clothing and skirt together with glass and watch, and gloves, looking more modern and romantic. The modern and fashionable dress of Europe and Japan affected Chinese women in terms of short skirts, underwear and colors, etc. More and more women began to imitate them, and some even imitated the simple dressing style of America. Ladies who liked sports always wore red pleated skirts and bras to replace the old-time Dudou (an underwear that was made of red embroidery cloth and hung from the neck with gold or silver chains, it came down from ancient times). In addition, women’s one-piece dress was more popular. During the 1920s-1940s after the founding of the Republic of China, fur coats were still popular in rich families.

The hairstyle with bangs or buns was fashionable at the time. The dressing style of slim coat, black skirt (without embroidery pattern), watch, elliptic sunglasses, cuspidate leather shoes, handbag and umbrella was brought into China by Japanese Ladies. This dressing style, called the dressing style of Free Lady, first appeared in Guangzhou City at the end of the Guangxu reign in Qing Dynasty (1875-1908), showing that their thoughts and behaviors were open.

The influence of western-style garments in China mainly appeared after the World War II. Many Chinese students studying abroad went to famous cities of Europe and America to seek spouses, so they brought the oriental ornaments to western countries and took western garments and adornments back to China.

The big inflow of foreign cheap goods greatly oppressed the production and consumption of Chinese goods of the same kind, and the sales of Chinese goods went sluggish for a time. In order to open the sales channels of Chinese garments, relevant personages held the Fashion Show of Chinese Garments at the Shanghai Dahua Restaurant on January 9, 1930. It can be considered the first fashion show in China.

(source: http://traditions.cultural-china.com/en/15Traditions7951.html

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!

If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

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Modern Chinese Clothing

Historical facts about Chinese clothes

Chinese clothing is as both gracefully as it stands for tradition and shows living power. Archeological findings from the Shantingtung early civilization excavated items obviously pointing out that embellishments have been used already at that time. Outfits combined with colors were common; for instance green was used for spring time, the hot seasons color was red, white stood for autumn and the color of winter season was black. Ancient Asian clothing preferred darker shades and a sophisticated scheme of fitting, aligning and opposed colors and shades was used in garments. Nowadays it joins the old motives of luck with the more recent fashion designs of the modern dressing.

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Today’s clothes styles

A wide scale of remarkable styles for teens and young women’s sexy wear is created in today’s China, which involves cats, gods and masks of Chinese opera. Fashionable shapes are applying motives and colors from the old Asian outfit. Images, textiles, ornaments, and motifs from old traditions are combined with modern materials and designs to create today’s fashionable outfits and Oriental fashion. Traditional clothes from China originate from customary motives and rites. In modern Chinese clothing ancient motifs as dragon, phoenix and flower embellishments, which have been used on garments of emperors, are returning. These symbols and styles on the one hand are beautiful and on the other hand stand for ancient tradition. There was a nine dragon and five cloud symbols which should bring luck to the person, and this symbol today also gets the same importance for this kind of wear.

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The combination of recent and old apparel, style and imagery is winsomely and natural. The old-school macramé is widely spread in modern Chinese silk clothes for the outfit’s decoration. We can find it on hems, shoulders, buttons, buttonholes, pockets, holes, silk corsets and edges. For instance the recent wedding tiara is a further established fusion of customary style and fashionable design. In the Hunan province currently can be seen scarves in old-fashioned red, green and blue ornaments. In general Asian clothes are made of different high quality fabrics, like brocade, satin, cotton, silk brocade and Thai silk. Various motives are used for Chinese style clothing, like dragon, phoenix, butterfly, plum blossom, cherry blossom, fish, flower, peony, chrysanthemum, peacock, longevity, bamboo, lotus and you can get them embroidered.

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Ancient and modern styles

On nowadays social events you still can watch men in a sophisticated traditional wide robe. And often ladies dress up an altered kind of garment from the Ch’ing Dynasty. In Asian dresses there are uncountable modifications in size, style and embellishment. Yet the silk producing, weaving and yarning old-aged methods have been refined by recent garment factories. Traditional Chinese fashion as a result gives it’s wearers over the whole world the possibility to delight ancient characteristics and modern style in garments. You can compress the same thing though by wearing fashion which has seen lines, and bows around the waist area too.

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Chinese silk clothing

The traditional silk garment is apparently varying because utterly anchored and merged with old traditions. Ancient silk clothing from China nowadays will continue to affect recent Asian fashion greatly. Without doubt the Shang dynasty with their weaving, yarning and producing of silk has the greatest impact. From cultural view China is not completely modern nor totally traditional; this is important for the daily life of Chinese people, for recent modifications of traditional garments and certainly for old-fashioned art styles shown as symbols and patterns on modern clothes. Notwithstanding the arrival of Western values impacts China, but modern sexy Chinese silk clothing persists deeply in it’s own history and traditional rites. This can be seen in different kinds of clothes like Chinese shirts and Chinese vests for example.

Chinese clothing within the fashion scene

Sexy Chinese apparel becomes more and more popular especially in Western culture. It combines the elaborate elegance of Chinese tradition with unique elements of style. Because of its particular charm it is like a wonderful flower in the colorful fashion scene. Another beauty is that it is made of high quality material and to varying lengths. It can be worn either on casual or formal occasions. In either case, silk garments create an impression of elegance. With distinctive features silk outfits enjoy a growing popularity in the international world of high fashion. For convenient movement and display of the slender legs of women female Asian dress generally has two big slits at either side of the hem. The slits expose a woman’s legs indistinctly when she walks, as if there was a blurred emotional appeal of “enjoying flowers in mist”.

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Today you can get it with different lengths and kinds of slits (one slit on the side or front as well as two slits). The material: Chinese attire usually is made of excellent materials like silk, silk brocade, satin, satin brocade or velour’s. Nearly all colors can be used. Often it gets a certain pattern, such as Chinese dragons, different kinds of flowers, butterflies or other typical Chinese icons (e.g. prosperity, wealth). Asian outfit has close links to social status and identity. Thus a modern Chinese outfit serves as a magnifier for examining transformations in the lives of individuals and communities undergoing change. You can get Chinese dresses for evening, party and cocktail events for both summer and winter.

 

source: http://chineseclothing.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/traditional-modern-chinese-clothing-information-and-article-extracts/

 

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!

If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Differences between Chinese and Western Clothing

Firstly, there are obvious differences on clothing concepts between Chinese and Western people. Influenced by Confucian value and ethical function, Chinese people have always maintained an eastern style conservative. Skin is closely covered and concealed. To some extent, Chinese clothing culture is a kind of “cover” culture. People should not “reveal” body shape and even skin. A large space is maintained between clothing and the body. This kept clothing relative stable in change on form, but to develop more surface decoration, patterns, colors, material textures and decoration styles. These developments have always kept Chinese clothing in strict form, except for some Men’s clothing.

It is different in western culture, except for a period when people are influenced by the Christianity. Denied the existence of human and human body’s performance, western clothing was used to present body shape in a very realistic and even exaggerated way. This is reflected both in ancient “loose clothing” culture and “close-fitting clothing” culture since the Renaissance. Clothing has been  used to “stand out” and even “intensify” different sex characteristics between male and female, and skin were more and more exposed (especially for women’s clothing). They have also found some methods to “further expose” skin. This brought many profile changes and man-made structure to western clothing.

Secondly, there are differences on function awareness of clothing between Chinese and Western culture. Chinese people attach great importance on social ethics function of clothing since ancient times. They defined the function not only concerning warm and decorative features, but more concerning social status. From the Xia, Shang to the Zhou dynasty, this concept has never been given up in the improvement of ceremonial costume. Every ruler in every dynasty has attached great importance to unify people’s thought by wearing and clothing.

Although the Romans attached great importance to identity function of clothing, and have introduced a variety of apparel ban in feudal times. Very few cultures have such social function development of clothing as in China. Most of them focused mainly on wealth and aesthetic functions of clothing.

Thirdly, the human beings in different environment have created their own material culture since the end of Primitive society. From long time ago, Chinese people have begun to use plant fiber, such as linen, ramie, etc., and animal fibers, such as wool to weave, and they have begun to weave silk sericulture. Silk is a great contribution to human life from Chinese people, so it is impossible  to talk Chinese clothing culture without silk.

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Different from silk culture in China, flax culture prevails in ancient  Egypt, wool culture prevails in the Mesopotamia and cotton culture prevails in India. Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome have no pioneering work in materials, and they imports flax and wool cultures from Mediterranean coasts and Upper Paleozoic civilizations. As for silk, although ancient Rome has touched silk from Far East through Silk Road in BC, they were never able to  understand the mysteries of this beautiful fabric. Lately, they knew the secrets of silk from two missionaries sent to China by the Byzantine Empire. Then one century later, the first silk is produced in Byzantine Empire, but Europeans produced first silk until the Italian Renaissance in 13-14 century.

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What’s more, there are also different dressing ways between Chinese and western clothing cultures. Chinese clothing is featured of upper and lower part separated, with opening in front  and using ties to fix clothing for the convenience to wear off; and western clothing developed from put-on style to cast-over style, and then to front-open style in various forms and complex dressing skill, in which, pins or buttons are often used to fix clothing. It is hard to see cast-over clothing method in China. However, this style is very sophisticated in western countries from Tunic in ancient Egypt to Tunica in ancient Rome. Cast-over style is often found in one-piece clothing, a very sophisticated women’s clothing in nowadays, or in other words, the most formal clothing is still in cast-over style. Although “long gown” has shown in the Spring and Autumn Period BC, it is front-open style from the start, and all kinds of gowns, shirts later on are still in this style. The Western shirts in front-open style nowadays are also developed from cast- over style in the past. Front-open shirts emerged only since mid-19th century.

In addition, put-on style clothing are popular in western countries, but it is only introduced to China with Buddhism from India far later, and it only can be seen on monk’s robes even in nowadays. The clothing going with a piece of cloth, focuses on fold down effect when put on. This is also a style different from traditional Chinese costumes and dressing way. The words “loose clothing” has totally different forms, content, concept and effect in Chinese culture and western culture.

Lastly, the color of clothing is also different. We all know that red is known as the Chinese element,which represents happiness, so when holding wedding ceremony ,everyone is supposed to wear red clothes. And yellow is     considered as a kind of special color, only used by emperors. In the West, red is the unlucky color. They prefer white, on behalf of purity, integrity, or black, representing the noble and mysterious.

Although the Chinese and Westerners have established their own cultures, world view, sense of worth, aesthetic standard and clothing cultures in different geographical environment, as the human living together Earth, there are still some forms and cultural patterns in common when facing survival issues. Therefore, in addition to the differences in clothing culture mentioned above, there is something in common.

At present, the development of Chinese clothing should take on the path of both learning from the advanced technology and culture from the West, and maintaining the unique culture of Chinese people. In so doing, China clothing will be improved and recognized as a new Oriental art form by people around the world, and thus it will make its way to the world stage.

 

source: http://wenku.baidu.com/view/8c9a3eeb6294dd88d0d26b4f

 

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!

If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Gifts of love in ancient China

Have you ever been caught up in a situation that leaves you clueless on what item to buy for your boyfriend or girlfriend? The ancient Chinese were never baffled by this problem. Here are some classic gifts for lovers during ancient times. Check it out and it may provide you with unique gift ideas.

Jade pendants

a pair of Qing Dynasty jade pendants
 ladies fashion
a pair of Qing Dynasty jade pendants
 ladies fashion

The ancient Chinese usually gave their lovers something small so that they could easily take it everywhere. A jade pendant is a good choice. Moreover, according to old customs, ancient couples sometimes exchanged their jade pendants at their engagement ceremony, so these little jade decorations top the list of ancient love gifts.

Hairpins

a pair of hairpins during Qing Dynasty
 ladies fashion
A set of hairpins during Qing Dynasty
 ladies fashion

Hairpins were also a common gift for a man to give his girlfriend in ancient times. An old tradition in China was that women would cut a small lock of hair to give to their beloved at their engagement, so hair decorations symbolize a promise of love.

Comb

a Qing Dynasty comb
 ladies fashion
a Han Dynasty comb
 ladies fashion

There is a beautiful Chinese idiom, “Bai tou xie lao”, meaning the happy couple will be together until their hair turns white. Giving a comb to a loved one is a romantic promise which means “I want to be with you until we get old together”.

Jade bracelet

a pair of jade bracelet during Qing Dynasty
 ladies fashion
a pair of jade bracelet during Qing Dynasty
 ladies fashion

Ancient Chinese women loved bracelets so much. It never fails to give a woman a pair of exquisite jade bracelets

Fan pendant

a fan pendant during Qing Dynasty
 ladies fashion

Ancient Chinese men usually carried folding fans in summer. A fan pendant for the man you loved was a good idea in ancient times.

Hand-made Purse

a set of embroidered purses during Qing Dynasty
 ladies fashion
a pair of embroidered purses during Qing Dynasty
 ladies fashion

Most ancient Chinese women were good at embroidery. A hand-made embroidered purse for the man they loved represents their true love.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Hairpins in Chinese Culture

 
 Ladies Fashion

Hairpins are an important symbol in Chinese culture. In ancient China, hairpins were worn by all genders, and they were essential items for everyday hairstyling, mainly for securing and decorating a hair bun. Furthermore, hairpins worn by women could also represent their social status.

 
 Ladies Fashion

In Han Chinese culture, when young girls reached the age of fifteen, they were allowed to take part in a rite of passage known as “Ji Li”, or “hairpin initiation” . This ceremony marks the coming of age of young women. Particularly, before the age of fifteen, girls did not use hairpins as they wore their hair in braids, and they were considered as children. When they turned fifteen, they could be considered as young women after the ceremony, and they started to style their hair as buns secured and embellished by hairpins. This practice indicated these young women may now enter into marriage. However, if a young woman hadn’t been consented to marriage before age twenty, or she hadn’t yet participated in a coming of age ceremony, she must attend a ceremony when she turned twenty.

 
 Ladies Fashion

In comparison with “Ji Li”, the male equivalent known as “guan li” or “hat initiation”, usually took place five years later, at the age of twenty. In the 21st century Hanfu Movement, an attempt to revive the traditional Han Chinese coming-of-age ceremonies has been made, and the ideal age to attend the ceremony is twenty years old for all genders.

 
 Ladies Fashion

While hairpins can symbolize the transition from childhood to adulthood, they were closely connected to the concept of marriage as well. At the time of an engagement, the fiancée may take a hairpin from her hair and give it to her fiancé as a pledge: this can be seen as a reversal of the Western tradition, such as the future groom presents an engagement ring to his betrothed. After the wedding ceremony, the husband should put the hairpin back into his spouse’s hair.

 
 Ladies Fashion

Hair has always carried many psychological, philosophical, romantic, and cultural meanings in Chinese culture. In Han ethnicity, people call the union between two people “jie-fa”, literally means “tying hair”. During the wedding ceremony, some Chinese couples exchange a lock of hair as a pledge, while others break a hairpin into two parts, and then, each of the betrothed take one part with them for keeping. If this couple ever get separated in the future, when they reunite, they can piece the two halves together, and this completed hairpin will serve as a proof of their identities as well as a symbol of their reunion. In addition, a married heterosexual couple is sometimes referred to as “jie-fa fu-qi”, an idiom which implies the relationship between the pair is very intimate and happy, just like how their hair has been tied together.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Dudou, the artistic underwear of ancient China

“Dudou”, or bellyband, is a piece of cloth that covers one’s belly. It dates back thousands of years. It was used by Chinese women as an undergarment in ancient times and can be considered China’s most original underwear.

“Red Underwear”, a painting by Liushi Zong
 Chinese clothing

Origin

Dudou was invented by the Chinese somewhen in the 17th century with the sole practical purpose to keep the chest and stomach area warm. It is just a square or rhomboidal piece of cloth with attached straps that were tied around the neck and at the back. It was worn by children, women and men alike to prevent not only cold but, according to some sources, diarrhea as well.

Dudou, early 20th century. The National Museum of Taiwan History
 Chinese clothing

Patterns

“White Rabbit and Fuwa”. This embroidery theme is a symbol of life and fertility
 Chinese clothing

This simple garment worn underneath, however, artistically decorated with embroidery. The embroidery served not just as mere decoration, each figure or pattern had a special meaning. The patterns’ subjects depended on who the dudou was intended for. Those for lovers obviously had love as their theme: romantic stories taken from operas, myths and folklore; those for young women and brides could contain figures of dragon, phoenix and fish as symbols of good luck, happiness and fertility; the patterns used for the bellybands of babies and children often had tiger as their main character who was believed to give protection against evil; dudous for older people could be embroidered with images of tortoise, a symbol of longevity.

Materials

Dudou, late Qing dynasty, satin, silver chain. Embroidery depicts “both husband and wife around the house” story. China National Silk Museum
 Chinese clothing

Traditional dudous were mostly made of silk satin. The straps could be of the same fabric or cotton but those from rich families used gold or silver chains instead.

 
 Chinese clothing

In recent years the dudou has made a come back, as a fashion item as well as an underwear. Nowadays there are different designs of dudou on the Chinese market that can be worn in the streets as a backless top combined with skirts or jeans or at home as a sexy lingerie.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Fashion Timeline of Chinese Women Clothing

Qin and Han Dynasty (221BCE-220AD)

 
 fashion

In the Qin and Han Dynasty, as of old, the one-piece garment remained the formal dress for women. However, it was somewhat different from that of the Warring States Period, in that it had an increased number of curves in the front and broadened lower hems. Close-fitting at the waist, it was always tied with a silk girdle.

Wei and Jin dynasties (220-420AD)

 
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On the whole, the costumes of the Wei and Jin period still followed the patterns of Qin and Han.

From the costumes worn by the benefactors in the Dunhuang murals and the costumes of the pottery figurines unearthed in Louyang, it can be seen that women’s costumes in the period of Wei and Jin were generally large and loose. The upper garment opened at the front and was tied at the waist. The sleeves were broad and fringed at the cuffs with decorative borders of a different colour. The skirt had spaced coloured stripes and was tied with a white silk band at the waist. There was also an apron between the upper garment and skirt for the purpose of fastening the waist. Apart from wearing a multi-coloured skirt, women also wore other kinds such as the crimson gauze-covered skirt, the red-blue striped gauze double skirt, and the barrel-shaped red gauze skirt. Many of these styles are mentioned in historical records.

Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-581AD)

 
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During the Wei, Jin and the Southern and Northern Dynasties, though men no longer wore the traditional one-piece garment, some women continued to do so. However, the style was quite different from that seen in the Han Dynasty. Typically the women’s dress was decorated with xian and shao. The latter refers to pieces of silk cloth sewn onto the lower hem of the dress, which were wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, so that triangles were formed overlapping each other. Xian refers to some relatively long ribbons which extended from the short-cut skirt. While the wearer was walking, these lengthy ribbons made the sharp corners and the lower hem wave like a flying swallow, hence the Chinese phrase ‘beautiful ribbons and flying swallowtail’.

During the Southern and Northern Dynasties, costumes underwent further changes in style. The long flying ribbons were no longer seen and the swallowtailed corners became enlarged. As a result the flying ribbons and swallowtailed corners were combined into one.

Sui Dynasty (581-618AD)

 
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During the period of the Sui and early Tang, a short jacket with tight sleeves was worn in conjunction with a tight long skirt whose waist was fastened almost to the armpits with a silk ribbon. In the ensuing century, the style of this costume remained basically the same, except for some minor changes such as letting out the jacket and/or its sleeves.

Tang Dynasty (618-907AD)

 
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The Tang Dynasty was the most prosperous period in China’s feudal society. Changan (now Xian, Shananxi Province), the capital, was the political, economic and cultural centre of the nation. Residents in Changan included people of such nationalities as Huihe (Uygur,) Tubo (Tibetan), and Nanzhao (Yi), and even Japanese, Xinluo (Korean), Persian and Arabian. Meanwhile, people frequently travelled to and fro between countries like Vietnam, India and the East Roman Empire and Changan, thus spreading Chinese culture to other parts of the world.

All the national minorities and foreign envoys who thronged the streets of Changan also contributed something of their own culture to the Tang. Consequently, paintings, carvings, music and dances of the Tang absorbed something of foreign skills and styles. The Tang government adopted the policy of taking in every exotic form whether or hats or clothing, so that Tang costumes became increasingly picturesque and beautiful.

Women of the Tang Dynasty paid particular attention to facial appearance, and the application of powder or even rouge was common practice. Some women’s foreheads were painted dark yellow and the dai (a kind of dark blue pigment) was used to paint their eyebrows into different shapes that were called dai mei (painted eyebrows) in general.

In the years of Tianbao during Emperor Xuanzong’s reign, women used to wear men’s costumes. This was not only a fashion among commoners, but also for a time it spread to the imperial court and became customary for women of high birth.

Song Dynasty (960-1279AD)

 
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The hairstyle of the women of the Song Dynasty still followed the fashion of the later period of the Tang Dynasty, the high bun being the favoured style. Women’s buns were often more than a foot in height.

Women’s upper garments consisted mainly of coat, blouse, loose-sleeved dress, over-dress, short-sleeved jacket and vest. The lower garment was mostly a skirt.

Women in the Song Dynasty seldom wore boots, since binding the feet had become fashionable.

Although historians do not know exactly how or why foot binding began, it was apparently initially associated with dancers at the imperial court and professional female entertainers in the capital. During the Song dynasty (960-1279) the practice spread from the palace and entertainment quarters into the homes of the elite. ‘By the thirteenth century, archeological evidence shows clearly that foot-binding was practiced among the daughters and wives of officials,’ reports Patricia Buckley Ebrey […] Over the course of the next few centuries foot binding became increasingly common among gentry families, and the practice eventually penetrated the mass of the Chinese people.

Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368AD)

 
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Han women continued to wear the jacket and skirt. However, the choice of darker shades and buttoning on the left showed Mongolian influence.

“After the Mongols settled down in the Central Plains, Mongolian customs and costumes lso had their influence on those of the Han people. While remaining the main costume for Han women, the jacket and skirt had deviated greatly in style from those of the Tang and Song periods. Tight-fitting garments gave way to big, loose ones; and collar, sleeves and skirt became straight. In addition, lighter more serene colours gained preference.

Ming Dynasty (1368-1644AD)

 
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The clothing for women in the Ming Dynasty consisted mainly of gowns, coats, rosy capes, over-dresses with or without sleeves, and skirts. These styles were imitations of ones first seen in the Tang and Song Dynasties. However, the openings were on the right-hand side, according to the Han Dynasty convention.

The formal dress for commoners could only be made of coarse purple cloth, and no gold embroidery was allowed. Gowns could only in such light colors as purple, green and pink; and in no case should crimson, reddish blue or yellow be used. These regulations were observed for over a decade, and it was not until the 14th year of Hong Wu that minor changes were made.

Qing Dynasty (1644 -1911AD)

 
 fashion

When China fell under Manchurian rule, Chinese men were forced to adopt Manchurian customs. As a sign of submission, the new government made a decree that men must shave their head and wear the Manchurian queue or lose their heads. Many choose the latter.

On the other hand, Chinese women were not pressured to adopt Manchurian clothing and fashions. “Women, in general, wore skirts as their lower garments, and red skirts were for women of position. At first, there were still the “phoenix-tail” skirt and the “moonlight” skirt and others from the Ming tradition. However the styles evolved with the passage of time: some skirts were adorned with ribbons that floated in the air when one walked; some had little bells fastened under them: others had their lower edge embroidered with wavy designs. As the dynasty drew to an end, the wearing of trousers became the fashion among commoner women. There were trousers with full crotches and over trousers, both made of silk embroidered with patters.

The Manchurians attempted several times to eradicate the practice of foot-binding, but were largely unsuccessful. Manchurian women admired the gait of bound women but were effectively banned from practicing food-binding. Hence, a “flower pot shoe” later came into creation and it allowed its wearer the same unsteady gait but without any need for foot-binding.

Republic Era (1912-1949AD)

 
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Ever since the Tang Dynasty, the design of Chinese women’s costumes had kept to the same straight style: flat and straight lines for the chest, shoulders and hips, with few curves visible; and it was not until the 1920’s that Chinese women came to appreciate ‘the beauty of curves’, and to pay attention to figure when cutting and making up dresses, instead of adhering to the traditional style.

The most popular item of a Chinese woman’s wardrobe in modern times was the qi pao. Originall the dress of the Manchus, it was adopted by Han women in the 1920s. Modifications and improvements were then made so that for a time, it became the most fashionable form of dress for women in China.

Two main factors account for women’s general preference for the qi pao: first, it was economical and convenient to wear.

Women traditionally bound their breasts in the Ming and Qing dynasties with tight fitting vests and continued to do so in the early 20th century.

The vests were called xiaomajia ‘little vest’ or xiaoshan ‘little shirt” “used by Chinese women as underclothing for the upper part of the body. “Doudu [is] a sort of apron for the upper body. In former times the doudu had been worn by everyone, old and young, male and female. The young wore red, the middle-aged wore white or grey-green, the elderly wore black. A little pocket sewn into the top was used by adults to secrete them money and by children their sweets. When a girl got engaged, she would show off her embroidery skills by sending an elaborately worked doudu to her fiancé, decorated with bats for good forturne and pomegranates, symbolizing many sons.

A ban on bound breasts began in 1927, in which the government started advocating for the “Natural Breast Movement”. Despite this, bound breasts still widely continued into the 1930s. The government also banned earrings as it fell under the criteria of deforming the natural body. The 1930s also saw the introduction of the western/French bra come to Shanghai.

The little vest was designed to constrain the breasts and streamline the body. Such a garment was necessary to look comme il faut around 1908, when (as J. Dyer Ball observed): ‘fashion decreed that jackets should fit tight, though not yielding to the contours of the figure, except in the slightest degree, as such an exposure of the body would be considered immodest.’ It became necessary again in the mid-twenties, when the jacket-blouse—a garment cut on rounded lines – began to give way to the qipao. At this stage, darts were not used to tailor the bodice or upper part of the qipao, nor would they be till the mid-fifties. The most that could be done by way of further fitting the qipao to the bosom was to stretch the material at the right places through ironing. Under these circumstances, breast-binding must have made the tailor’s task easier.

Successful eradication of bound feet would not come until the 1949 when the People’s Republic of China came into power.

Republic Era and 21st century

 
 fashion

1950s-1960’s

Under the People’s Republic of China, very few mainland women wore the cheongsam, save for ceremonial attire. Clothing became de-sexualized for mainlanders.

It was the flip side in Hong Kong, as the cheongsam continued its function as everyday wear which lasted until the late 1960s. The cheongsam in the 1950s and 1960s became even tighter fitting to further accentuate feminine curves. Western clothing became the default after the late 1960s, though the cheongsam continued to survive as uniforms for students (who donned a looser and androgynous version), waitresses, brides, and beauty contestants.

21st century

Designers today are creating new forms of the qipao/cheongsam. The fish tail appears to be a current popular trend.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

We co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!