What is a Qipao?

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A poster of women wearing Qipao in the 1920s/30s.

 The Cheongsam (known as Qipao in Mandarin, previously called the Ch’ipao in the West) is the dress that most westerners associate with China. It originated from a type of Manchurian female garment and has a rich history, but has undergone a lot of change over time. The Qipao dress is supposed to represent the interior elegance of the woman wearing it.

The main characteristics of Qipao are; the mandarin collar, fitted waist, Chinese “frog” (knotted) buttons, hemmed slits on two sides, and a tailored form fit. Usually, Qipaos are made from satin brocade, silk, or cotton. With their impressive embroideries, Qipaos can be regarded as exquisite works of art that embody a great deal of beauty, passion, resilience and love. On the other hand, the Qipao also represents an old art that is at risk of dying out. Nowadays, Qipaos display a mix of Chinese and Western clothing styles.

Over 300 years ago, Qipaos were custom made by tailors for ladies of noble birth or wealthy families as a garment symbolic of high status. They became the outfit of choice for important social gatherings, including Chinese traditional weddings, and even today, for some, to wear a Qipao is to act like an elegant lady of status. In some ways, the Qipao can be said to reflect a woman’s inner self, personality, style and vision. For the Chinese New Year, Chinese girls often wear a Qipao, because they consider the Qipao as a positive sign that the year ahead will be better than the last!

 

 

by Hannah hannah@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 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!

 

New Shanghai Style Mandarin Dresses

Shanghai has been China’s main fashion center for the past century, and today’s trends can be summarised into the 4 following categories. 

1) Shanghai Classic

Traditional elements are applied, such as fine trimming, ornate buttons, and elaborate embroidery. Originating from Suzhou, a city near Shanghai, “Su Xiu”, the Su embroidery is the main characteristic and has been famous for centuries.Mandarin dresses in the Shanghai classic category are meant for special occasions.

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2) Shanghai Natural

Mandarin dresses in this category are comfortable, for casual activities, such as hanging out with friends.

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3) Shanghai Cosmopolitan

These outfits blend traditional Mandarin dress styles with functionality to create what could be described as ‘work wear chic’.

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4) Shanghai Youthful

The Mandarin dress is given a youthful and modern update to create fun and trendy dresses aimed at a younger audience.

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We hope you’ve found a style you like!

by Hannah hannah@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 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!

Qipao today

Although Qipao are no longer worn as daily wear dresses, there has been a surge in popularity of the garment in recent years.

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A typical Shanghai Qipao store

Notably, over 2000 ladies wore their Qipao dresses proudly to attend the fifth ‘Shanghai Cheongsam Salon’ at Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre on May 20, 2012. The goal of the event was to promote and share the elegant etiquette of wearing a Qipao.

As a devout admirer of the Qipao, Ms Wang, who attended the event, explained that she has over 52 Qipao dresses including a specially altered one with a back slit to wear when cycling. She would like to see the Qipao being worn more often by women. The club itself  has a Culture Centre in the Xuhui district of Shanghai where members are required to wear Qipao to join activities such as exhibitions, flower arrangement, tea or dance performances. They also run external events such as lectures or cultural afternoons to an increasing public audience.

Here are links to some documentaries following the evolution of the Chinese Qipao to modern times by China’s international television channel CCTV:

Sources and interesting articles on the ‘Shanghai Cheongsam Salon’:

www.chinadaily.com.cn/sunday/2012-12/30/content_16068764.htm

twittweb.com/cheongsam+culture+booms-21237454

 

by Hannah hannah@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 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!

 

Artist fuses ink of China and oil of the West

For over a millennium, Chinese artists have been using ink to express the beauty of flowers and birds. Artist Huang Yue has carried that tradition on, but uses a different medium – oil.

A painting by Chinese oil painting artist Huang Yue.
 painting

Flower and bird ink painting, a traditional art form that’s unique to China, originated during the Tang Dynasty (618-907.) Since then, Chinese artists have expressed their emotions with gradations of mostly monochromatic strokes in ink, with scarce touches of color to accentuate. The manifestation differs greatly from those of Western oil paintings, where abundant colors and textures are used to create depth and abstractness.

Huang Yue’s oil paintings of flowers and birds exists somewhere between the two. “My paintings are neither the traditional ink paintings of flowers and birds nor paintings of that under natural light in the West. It’s somewhere in between. It’s completely new, and innovation is the key for me.”

Paintings by Chinese oil painting artist Huang Yue.
 painting

More often than not, artists paint not just to capture the beauty of what they see, but use shapes and contours as metaphors to express their inner feelings and views of the world. So a flower, through an artist’s eyes, is not just a flower. It can be the symbol of femininity, peace, optimism and beauty. Every stroke an artists paints is an expression of culture. When the message that lies behind is too deeply embedded in cultural traditions, audiences from other parts of the world may have difficulties understanding it.

“When we export our art to the world, these metamorphic artistic conceptions are sometimes not understood,” Huang said. “Oil paintings are more easily accepted by the West. Some in the west are puzzled by the traditional Chinese flower and bird paintings. They don’t understand the complex message behind its visual simplicity. My works, however, with its rich usage of colors, are better taken and understood.”

Chinese oil painting artist Huang Yue (R) signs for a fan at Royal Asscher-Beijing Sparkle Roll Luxury Brands Culture Expo 2013 Fall in Beijing on Oct 10, 2013.
 painting

And they really are. Huang started fusing Chinese and Western styles of painting in 2000. As of today, nearly 20 of his pieces are a part of the Rockefellar family collection, a family known for their love of beautiful art. Steven C. Rockefeller Jr. and Kimberly K. Rockefeller both expressed their fondness for Huang’s work in the preface of his latest publication, Huang Yue Flower and Bird Oil Painting (4th).

“Steven Rockefeller said he has never seen anything like my works. This is also the opinion of many who have appreciated my works in the US and the UK.”

Silk scarves inspired by Chinese oil painting artist Huang Yue’s work displayed during Royal Asscher-Beijing Sparkle Roll Luxury Brands Culture Expo 2013 Fall in Beijing.
 painting

Huang, who participated in the Royal Asscher-Beijing Sparkle Roll Luxury Brands Fall Culture Expo 2013, is also tapping into the luxury market. He has already started making scarves inspired by his paintings. Soon, there will be ready-to-wear items, evening gowns and porcelain.

“Luxury to me means beautiful, unique and rare things. Most of them cannot be recreated. They may be expensive, but the price is not what defines luxury,” he said.

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!

Winter Solstice in China

The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Winter Solstice, the 22nd solar term of the year, begins this year on Dec 22 and ends on Jan 6.

On the first day of Winter Solstice, the Northern Hemisphere experiences the shortest day and the longest night in the year, as the sun shines directly at the Tropic of Capricorn. From then on, the days become longer and the nights become shorter. The Winter Solstice also marks the arrival of the coldest season in the year.

Here are nine things you should know about Winter Solstice.

The Winter Solstice Festival

There was a saying that went in ancient China, “The Winter Solstice is as significant as the Spring Festival.”

 
 Chinese Culture

As early as Zhou Dynasty (c.11th century-256BC), people worshipped the gods on the first day of the Winter Solstice, which was also the first day of the new year. The Winter Solstice became a winter festival during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220AD). The celebratory activities were officially organized. On this day, both officials and common people would have a rest.

During subsequent dynasties, such as the Tang (618-907), Song (960-1279) and Qing dynasties (1644-1911), the Winter Solstice was a day to offer sacrifices to Heaven and to ancestors.

Eating nuts

When midwinter comes, vital movement begins to decline and calm down. In this period, eating an appropriate amount of nuts, such as peanuts, walnuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts and almonds, is good for one’s body. Traditional Chinese medical science teaches that the quality of a nut is tepidity and most nuts have the function of nourishing the kidneys and strengthening the brain and heart.

 
 Chinese Culture

Eating dumplings

During Winter Solstice in North China, eating dumplings is essential to the festival. There is a saying that goes “Have dumplings on the first day of Winter Solstice and noodles on the first day of Summer Solstice.”

Dumplings
 Chinese Culture

Eating wontons

People in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, are accustomed to eating wontons in midwinter. According to legend, during the midwinter feast 2,500 years ago, the King of Wu (one of the states during the Western Zhou Dynasty and the Spring and Autumn Period) was disgusted with all kinds of costly foods and wanted to eat something different. Then, the beauty Xishi came into the kitchen to make “wontons” to honor the king’s wish. He ate a lot and liked the food very much. To commemorate Xishi, the people of Suzhou made wontons the official food to celebrate the festival.

Wontons
 Chinese Culture

Eating tangyuan

In places such as Shanghai, people eat tangyuan, a kind of stuffed small dumpling ball made of glutinous rice flour to celebrate Winter Solstice.

Tangyuan
 Chinese Culture

Eating mutton and vermicelli soup

In Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui autonomous region, people call midwinter the “Ghost Festival”. On that day, it is customary for people there to drink mutton and vermicelli soup and eat the dumplings in the soup. They give the midwinter soup a strange name: “brain” and share it with their neighbors.

mutton and vermicelli soup
 Chinese Culture

Eating rice cakes

During the Winter Solstice, Hangzhou residents traditionally eat rice cakes. In the past, before the approach of the winter solstice, every household would make the cakes to worship their ancestors or use as gifts for relatives and friends. Today, though fewer families eat home-made cakes, people there still buy rice cakes for the Winter Solstice Festival.

A dish made with rice cakes.
 Chinese Culture

Offering nine-layer cakes to ancestors

Taiwan residents keep the custom of offering nine-layer cakes to their ancestors. People with the same surname or family clan gather at their ancestral temples to worship their ancestors in order of their ages. After the sacrificial ceremony, there is always a grand banquet.

Nine-layer cakes
 Chinese Culture

Eating red-bean and glutinous rice

In some regions south of the Yangtze River on the first day of Winter Solstice, the whole family gets together to have a meal made of red-bean and glutinous rice to drive away ghosts and other evil things.

Red-bean and glutinous rice porridge.
 Chinese Culture

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!

Centuries-old furniture withstands the test of time

Furniture made during China’s Ming dynasty from the 14th to 17th centuries achieved a pinnacle in the art of furniture making. It is also a favorite among antique collectors. Now, an exhibition at 798 Art Zone in Beijing is displaying some rare pieces of Ming dynasty furniture. The exhibition will run through October 7.

An exhibition at 798 art zone in Beijing is displaying some rare pieces of Ming dynasty furniture.
 Ming furniture

The exhibition is held by Jia Mu Tang, literally meaning “house of fine wood”, a company specializing in collecting Chinese antiques. Twenty eight geniune Ming dynasty furniture pieces collected by the company are on display, along with playthings owned by the late well-known antique collector Wang Shixiang. The furniture includes chairs, benches, tables, beds and wardrobes.

Wang Shixiang (1914-2009), hailed as the “father of classical Chinese furniture”, defined Ming furniture as pieces fashioned from valuable hardwood during the late Ming (1368-1644) and early Qing (1644-1911) dynasties.

The exhibition places the furniture in seven modern rooms, including a sitting room, dining room and the memorial room of Wang Shixiang. Although created hundreds of years ago, these pieces provide a modern feel. And in the room dedicated to Wang Shixiang’s collections and essays, visitors can feel the profound knowledge of the late collector. Seven bronze furnaces manifest the epitome of his hobby.

Pieces of Ming furniture are exhibited at a space decorated as a sitting room.
 Ming furniture

“The antique and the modern complement each other,” says Qiao Hao, a Ming furniture expert and head of Guardian’s furniture and artwork department. “Every furnace has its own style, and can be called one of a kind in terms of collecting.”

“The study of Ming furniture is relatively new. It wasn’t until the 1980s that Wang published China’s first book on it.” Qiao said.

Wang’s books include Ming Dynasty Furniture Appreciation and Classic Chinese Furniture: Ming and Early Qing Dynasties. They’re recognized as rediscoveries of antique furniture in China.

In modern times, Westerners began collecting and researching Ming furniture before the Chinese.

Foreign scholars and diplomats began collecting them in the 1930s. In 1944, German scholar Gustav Ecke published Chinese Domestic Furniture, the first book in any language on Ming furniture.

Although created hundreds of years ago, these pieces deliver a modern feel.
 Ming furniture

“It’s miraculous that artisans centuries ago could produce furniture that fits modern life,” Qiao says.

The furniture includes chairs, benches, tables, beds and wardrobes.
 Ming furniture

“It proves Ming furniture can withstand the test of time and transcend distinctions between Eastern and Western aesthetics.”

28 real Ming dynasty furniture pieces collected by the company are on display here.
 Ming furniture

Qiao explains the show aims to preserve and disseminate the furniture’s cultural components while honoring Wang’s efforts to do so.

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!

Asian Bedroom Decorating Ideas

Decorating your bedroom with an Asian flair will create a sophisticated and relaxing respite. Take advantage of soft Asian fabrics, such as silk, to turn your bedroom into a comfortable and inviting space. Decorate using a rich color palette of reds and golds, and hang Chinese lanterns to enhance the room’s ambiance with soft lighting. Display bonsai trees and zen gardens to add to the Asian look and to create a sense of peace and calm within your bedroom.

Chinese Lanterns

 
 Asian home decor

Hang decorative paper Chinese lantern from your bedroom ceiling, which will create soft, diffused lighting. You can purchase them with white paper or with Asian-inspired symbols and prints. If you are creative, buy a white lantern and some paint, and make a one-of-a-kind design. Replace the lantern’s ordinary white bulb with a soft pink one to cast a warm glow throughout your bedroom.

Bonsai Tree

 
 Asian home decor

Add serenity to your bedroom by displaying a bonsai tree and a zen garden. The ancient art of pruning a bonsai tree is known to promote relaxation and inner peace. Prepare a plant pot and anchor the tree into place using wire and soil. Since bonsai trees are small, consider placing several throughout your bedroom.

Bamboo Furniture and Blinds

 
 Asian home decor

• Replace your bedroom furniture with a bamboo dresser, desk or bed headboard to create an authentic Asian look. To make your home eco-friendly, choose furniture that was made with sustainable and chemical-free bamboo. You can also set out a bamboo room divider to create a reading nook or another private space. Hang bamboo blinds to keep out unwanted sunlight and to naturally cool your room.

Silk Bedding and Drapes

 
 Asian home decor

• Create an opulent, glamorous vibe using silk bedding and window coverings. Choose fabrics in rich Asian colors, such as gold and red, and look for designs inspired by elegant kimonos and tapestries. Complete the look by displaying traditional silk paddle fans on the bedroom walls, or hanging silk jacquard lanterns from the ceiling.

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!