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Magua a buttoned mandarin jacket was native to the Qing Dynasty , which was a short-sleeved, loose outer garment, and it was adopted as the standard military uniform owing to its ease to take off and wear by soldiers when riding horses. Qipao Cheongsam also emerged during the Qing Dynasty , and it turned out to be extremely popular among women all over the world.
It was not until the introduction of Western-style clothes in the late Qing Dynasty that the third great change in traditional Chinese clothes took place, and the development of Chinese clothes entered a new stage in modern times.
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The outstanding feature was that the buttons on the forepart replaced the band knots in use for several thousand years. However, it was not in the Ming Dynasty that buttons first came into being. Some buttons were sewn on the waistline of the braid coat of the Yuan Dynasty. The clothing for women in the Ming Dynasty consisted mainly of gowns, coats, rosy capes, overdresses 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 righthand side, according to the Han Dynasty convention. The use of buttons was also an invention that embodied the advancement of that era. In addition, the popularization of Confucian school of idealist philosophy also affected the dressing style to a certain degree. 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 colours 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.
Compared with the costume of the Tang Dynasty , the proportion of the upper outer garment to lower skirt in the Ming Dynasty was significantly inverted. Since the upper outer garment was shorter and the lower garment was longer, the jacket gradually became longer to shorten the length of the exposed skirt, and the collar changed from the symmetrical type of the Song Dynasty to the main circular type.
Skirt color was inclined to be light. Skirt pleats, including dense pleats and big pleats, became very popular. Because these capes looked like beautiful rosy cloud, they were also called Rosy Cloud Cape. Such capes first appeared in the Northern and Southern Dynasties. They were in the shape of a very long colored band, could encircle the neck and reach the chest with gold or bowlder pendants at the lower end, looking very elegant. The clothes featured broad sleeves, inlaid black brims and cyan circular collar. Men wore black silk ribbon, soft chuddar and drooping strap.
They were sewn with bits and pieces of brocades in various colors and looked like the cassocks of shamans.
Gradually, they were introduced into the life of ordinary people. Young ladies in the mid Ming Dynasty usually preferred to dress in these waistcoats. The waistcoats in the Qing Dynasty were transformed from those of the Yuan Dynasty. Another feature of costume in the Ming Dynasty was that the garment front was decorated with various striking adornments made of gold, jade and pearl, etc.
A special adornment was a golden chain hung with nipper, toothpick, ear pick and small knife, articles that were often used by women in their daily life. It is a form of formal wear, and is often perceived as a longer version of ruqun. However, it was actually developed from zhiduo during the Ming Dynasty, and is worn over a skirt. It is wide-sleeved, shorter than zhiduo and has no side panels at the side slits thus showing the skirt worn underneath.
There is often an optional detachable protective huling lit. The huling can be of white or any other dark colours. The collar is of the same colour as the clothing. It is a form of formal wear in the Ming Dynasty. It is a full-length robe with side slits beginning below the waist. There are side panels at the slits to conceal the undergarments.
It is wide sleeved and has a belt.
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The collar can be of the same or different colour as the clothing, but has to be of the same colour as the edges of the clothing. An optional detachable protective huling lit. Chinese sources indicate it has been worn since the Song Dynasty. 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. However the styles evolved with the passage of time: some skirts were adorned with ribbons that floated in the air when one. 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.
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Figure 6. The butterfly is a symbol of summer, joy and happiness in marriage. The motifs are embroidered in Peking-knot stitch, a time consuming and exacting embroidery technique. The subtle palette of colours used in the embroidery harmonises beautifully with the slate-grey ground. Both robes were worn with a long neck ribbon.
The chenyi featured a round neck and a panel crossing from left to right, fastening at the side with five buttons and loops. It had a relatively straight body and full sleeves. The changyi differed in that it had splits up each side of the robe allowing facility of movement. The splits were often highlighted by decorative borders.
These long robes featured a round neck and a diagonal button-and-loop closure. The chenyi was a long, straight robe, while the changyi had slits on each side to allow for ease of movement. This kind of clothes would have been worn by a Qing dynasty official on formal occasions. It is embroidered with a traditional design of dragons, representing the emperor or Son of Heaven, clouds, the Isles of the Immortals, crested waves and deep water which together reflected the Chinese conception of the cosmos.
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Silk, embroidered with silk and metallic thread, made in China during the late s to early s. This dragon robe has an ermine fur lining. The chest, back, and both shoulders, the lower front and back, and the inner lapel of this robe are decorated with nine dragons. In ancient Chinese divination, nine was considered the most superior of all numbers, and was thus used to represent the emperor.
The largely Han Chinese population immediately cut off their queue as they were forced to grow in submission to the overthrown Qing Dynasty. For women, a transformation of the traditional qipao cheongsam resulted in a slender and form fitting dress with a high cut, resulting in the contemporary image of a cheongsam but contrasting sharply with the traditional qipao. But the historical event has a profound.
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The beginning of the 20th century saw much change in China: political, economic, social and cultural. The social changes gained impetus after the revolution which resulted in the demise of the Qing dynasty. Social reform led to change in dress codes too. The head shaving and queue long plait men had been forced to wear, to demonstrate their subservience, gradually disappeared.
The practice of foot binding also decreased. Figure 7. Sun Yat-sen introduced the style shortly after the founding of the Republic of China as a form of national dress although with a distinctly political and later governmental implication. When the Republic was founded in , the style of dress worn in China was based on Manchu dress qipao and changshan , which had been imposed by the Qing Dynasty as a form of social control.
The majority-Han Chinese revolutionaries who overthrew the Qing were fueled by failure of the Qing to defend China against western imperialists and the low standing of the Qing in terms of technology and science compared to the West. Even before the founding of the Republic, older forms of Chinese dress were becoming unpopular among the elite and led to the development of Chinese dress which combined the changshan and the Western hat to form a new dress. The Zhongshan suit is similar development which combined Western and Eastern fashions.
Zhongshan suit was an attempt to cater to contemporary sensibilities without adopting Western styles wholesale. Army uniforms during the Spanish-American Philippine War. The stylish and often tight-fitting cheongsam or qipao chipao that is best known today was created in the s in Shanghai and made fashionable by socialites and upper class women.
Modifications and improvements were then made so that for a time, it became the most fashionable form of dress for women in China. When the Manchu ruled China during the Qing Dynasty, certain social strata emerged. Among them were the Banners, mostly Manchu, who as a group were called Banner People. Manchu women typically wore a onepiece dress that retrospectively came to be known as the qipao.
The generic term for both the male and the female forms of Manchu dress, essentially similar garments, was changpao. The qipao fitted loosely and hung straight down the body, or flared slightly in an A-line. The baggy nature of the clothing also served to conceal the figure of the wearer regardless of age.