Does Hanfu refer to traditional Chinese clothing

Does Hanfu refer to traditional Chinese clothing

What is the difference between what we call Hanfu and traditional clothing today? Why is Hanfu fever happening? What is the future trend of Hanfu... Recently, reporters interviewed costume historians, Hanfu designers, Chinese traditional culture promoters, etc. They explained their understanding of Hanfu from different perspectives.

What is Hanfu? What are the characteristics?

What is Hanfu? According to clothing historian Professor Huang Qiang, Hanfu has appeared in ancient classics and refers to traditional Chinese clothing. "Huang Emperor Yao and Shun hung down their clothes and ruled the world", which means that Hanfu began with Huang Emperor Yao and Shun. From then on, from the Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties, to the Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties, and later the Manchu and Qing dynasties, each dynasty had its own characteristics.

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Ruqun made in the Northern Song Dynasty.

For example, in the Qin and Han Dynasties, "shenyi" means to hide the body deeply, with clothes on the top and clothes on the bottom, which not only combine the two into one, but also maintain the boundary of being divided into two. It is characterized by cross-collar (the left and right sides of the front of the garment intersect), wide body and large sleeves. The costumes of the Wei and Jin Dynasties praised the broad robes and sleeves, which are elegant and elegant. The official uniforms of the Sui and Tang Dynasties were robes with round collars and narrow sleeves, while women wore skirts, short tops and long skirts with high waists tied to the armpits, making them elegant and gorgeous. In the Tang Dynasty, the color system also appeared, using the color of clothes to indicate official status. Red, scarlet, and purple are considered noble, while green, blue, and cyan are considered inferior, hence the poem "Sima Jiangzhou's green shirt is wet." The color and fabric of clothes are more restricted for the common people. White, black and brown are mostly used by the common people and low-level servants, so they are called Zaoli and white clothes.

The general characteristics of Chinese traditional clothing are: crossed collars, wide shirts, large sleeves, and robes. Short clothes and small attire are mostly worn by ordinary people, while those who are officials and famous people mainly wear robes. Matching colors, fabrics, patterns, accessories, etc. Silk and satin, colorful, vary according to the identity of the wearer. Traditional costumes have the function of "differentiating one's rank and distinguishing one from another" and conveying etiquette and civilization.

What is the difference between Hanfu and traditional clothing?

According to Professor Huang, the concept of Hanfu today is different from the Hanfu (i.e. traditional Chinese clothing) recorded in ancient books.

1. Different ethnic groups. Chinese traditional costumes include both Han costumes and ethnic minority costumes that have been Sinicized. In other words, even ethnic minorities, as long as they live on the land of China, the clothes they wear all belong to the category of traditional Chinese clothes. The current meaning of Hanfu only refers to the clothing worn by the Han nationality before the Ming Dynasty (including the Ming Dynasty), especially the clothing exclusive to the Han people.

2. The time span is different. Chinese traditional clothing refers to the continuity of uninterrupted inheritance from the Yellow Emperor to the Manchu Qing Dynasty. The current Han clothing does not include the Yuan and Qing dynasties, as well as the clothing of non-Han countries in history.

3. Different styles and fabrics. Professor Huang said that ancient costumes had different patterns, fabrics, and accessories based on the wearer's identity, rank, status, and occasions (such as sacrifices, going to court, and office work).

Nowadays, many Hanfu are just imitations of traditional clothing and are not made strictly according to the regulations, grades, patterns and fabrics of traditional clothing. Although there are some shapes of traditional clothing, many modern elements are added to the production. This is a kind of remade clothing that is added or changed according to the intention of the designer or operator. It is not the same as traditional clothing and can be attributed to imitation clothing.

Traditional clothing has distinct characteristics of the times, while many modern imitations have a vague sense of the times. First, I can’t tell the dynasty, so I don’t know if it’s a Tang Dynasty costume or a Song Dynasty costume; second, I can’t tell the rank, and I don’t know whether it’s worn by officials or ordinary people; third, I can’t tell the occasion, or whether it’s worn by ordinary people. Know whether it is a fashion for work or a fashion for off work; fourth, it is difficult to reflect the culture in clothing. The patterns and decorations of traditional clothing have different connotations.

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Made in the Han Dynasty, deep robe with a straight skirt.

From niche to popular

Women's clothing sells better

Southerners prefer to buy

Of course, there are also people who clearly distinguish between eras in the design of Hanfu. At the Hanfu Culture Exhibition Hall in Qifengge, Wuhu, Anhui, there are pieces of men's and women's clothing from the Han, Tang, Song and Ming dynasties, showing the origin and evolution of clothing with pictures and texts. Guo Zaiquan is the founder of Qifeng Pavilion Hanfu. He designs the Hanfu here himself and tries his best to restore the costumes of various ancient dynasties. He told reporters that in order to make the details realistic, he had to study unearthed cultural relics, listen to expert reports, go to libraries to look up information, and go to museums to see exhibitions.

He personally experienced the process of Hanfu from niche to popular. In 2006, heSeveral hundred sets of Hanfu were sold, which increased to several thousand sets in 2008, and now sales exceed 10,000 sets a year.

According to Guo Zaiquan, Hanfu has the characteristics of "cross-collar collar and right gusset" and "praising clothes with wide sleeves". In general, women's clothing sells more than men's clothing. In the past, clothes from the Han and Tang dynasties sold better, but now clothes from the Song and Ming dynasties sell better. Why? According to his sales data, southerners like to buy Hanfu more than northerners. This may be because the economy in the south is relatively developed, and the clothes of the Song and Ming dynasties are more suitable for southerners to wear, so sales are better now.

Exploring the “Hanfu Craze”

Traditional culture returns, and new media adds fuel to the fire

So why is Hanfu so popular now? In the interview, Professor Huang and Guo Zaiquan summarized the following reasons.

1. Traditional culture is getting more and more attention. Professor Huang said that with the increase in national power, traditional culture has gradually become fashionable. In the Chinese ideological system, "ritual" occupies an important position. Without etiquette, there would be no civilization, social order, etc., and clothing and etiquette are connected. Modern people often need a sense of ritual when they study Tang poetry and Song lyrics, and hold various traditional activities such as worshiping Confucius. Hanfu has also become popular.

Guo Zaiquan also believes that with the development of my country's national strength and the continuous improvement of its international status, national pride has gradually increased. More and more people choose to wear Hanfu, thinking that this is a reflection of national self-confidence.

2. The beauty of traditional clothing. The traditional costumes are large and elegant, with bright colors, unique shapes, and beauty. They are as elegant as a fairy, "as if the moon is covered by light clouds and flutters like snow in the flowing wind." Whether you are a man or a woman, wearing Hanfu becomes a beautiful sight in the city.

Hanfu is both beautiful in form and profound in heritage. Many people believe that it is the best carrier to display the splendid civilization and long culture of China, so Hanfu craze emerged.

3. Social media boost. Guo Zaiquan believes that with the rise of short video platforms, some people who love Hanfu have instantly become "Internet celebrities", and netizens are equally enthusiastic about discussing and exchanging Hanfu culture. Searching for Hanfu on Weibo, there are tens of millions of results about Hanfu. These new media have promoted the Hanfu craze.

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Ming Dynasty Coat and Skirt Photo courtesy of Guo Zaiquan

future trends

"Chinese style" with elements of Hanfu will be popular

Julie is the director of Jinling Chinese Academy and a loyal fan of Hanfu. She told reporters that she wears Hanfu almost every day. Today's Hanfu can be roughly divided into regular clothes and formal wear. She will wear a dress for every event, but usually wears regular clothes.

Since 2013, she has organized Chinese traditional culture charity activities across the province, including opening ceremonies, sacrifices, etc. Hanfu is naturally indispensable. Mainly primary school students participate in Hanfu activities, but now many colleges and universities, such as Nanlin University, have Hanfu clubs, and she regularly goes to colleges and universities to organize Hanfu training activities. In the future, in order to let more people understand and like Hanfu, she plans to combine Hanfu culture with technologies such as AR and VR, so that everyone wearing Hanfu can feel like they have traveled back a thousand years and experience the beauty of Hanfu immersively.

Jiang Danjun is the person in charge of Nanjing Junhe Liyun Cultural Service Center and often organizes different forms of Hanfu activities. She told reporters that the demand for traditional cultural activities in the past two years has been much greater than in previous years. Currently, at least 100 traditional cultural activities are held a year, most of which are actively invited by various government units, such as the "Twenty-Four Solar Terms" event, which is aimed at The different folk customs of each solar term allow children to wear Hanfu and experience traditional Chinese culture.

She said that Hanfu is becoming more and more accepted by the public, but Hanfu is also being improved. Many people wear "Chinese style" clothes. What is the difference? Because Hanfu has wide sleeves and long robes, it can be worn when going shopping, but it is very inconvenient when working, while "Chinese style" clothing is made tighter so that it does not hinder work. She believes that modern Chinese-style clothing with Hanfu elements will become a mainstream clothing brand and a new popular landscape.