Take a Look at the Past and Present of Hanfu

Take a Look at the Past and Present of Hanfu

Hanfu, also known as Hanyi, Han costume, or Huafu, is the traditional clothing of the Han Chinese people. It originated from the time of the Yellow Emperor to the mid-17th century AD (late Ming to early Qing dynasty) in the main Han-inhabited areas, centered around the etiquette culture of the Huaxia, and evolved naturally to form a unique style and character of the Han nationality, distinct from the traditional clothing and accessories systems of other ethnic groups. It is a typical embodiment of China's status as a 'country of clothing and headwear' and 'the splendid Chinese civilization,' carrying outstanding craftsmanship and aesthetics of Han ethnic dyeing, weaving, and embroidery, and inheriting over 30 items of China's intangible cultural heritage and Chinese arts and crafts.

What are the main types of Hanfu?

Although there are many styles of Hanfu, they typically feature characteristics such as right lapel, wide sleeves, and deep clothing. They are divided into ceremonial, daily wear, and special clothing. A set of Hanfu generally consists of three layers: "inner garment," "middle garment," and "outer garment," which can be further categorized into "ru," "duan," and "deep garments" based on length.

The typical collar style of Hanfu is the 'cross-collared right lapel', where the collar is directly connected to the garment front, with the garment fronts crossing each other on the chest, and the left garment front pressing down the right garment front, forming a 'Y' shape in appearance, and the overall garment leaning to the right. The left garment front is fastened under the right armpit, covering the right garment front, known as the right lapel; and vice versa for the left lapel. The traditional 'cross-collared right lapel' of Hanfu, which has remained unchanged throughout the dynastic changes, is closely related to the traditional Chinese concept of 'respecting the right.' In addition to the 'cross-collared right lapel,' there are also forms such as 'round collar' and 'straight collar.'

The sleeves of Hanfu are characterized by both 'wide sleeves' and 'narrow sleeves,' with styles ranging from round to square. Based on their overall structure, Hanfu can also be divided into three categories:

The first is the 'deep garment' system, in which the upper and lower garments are connected together. It is called 'deep garment' because the upper and lower garments are connected and the garment is deep and thorough. The upper and lower garments are cut separately and connected at the waist, forming a whole. It includes straight-hem deep garments, curved-hem deep garments, robes, straight tops, vests, and long shirts, belonging to the category of long garments. Both men and women can wear deep garments, which can be used as ceremonial attire and daily wear. It is also the attire of monarchs, officials, and scholars during informal occasions, belonging to casual wear.

The second is the system of wearing the upper and lower garments separately. This includes formal ceremonial attire such as coronation robes and black robes, worn by monarchs and officials at grand ceremonies. Since ancient times, Huaxia clothing has advocated wearing upper and lower garments separately, and stipulated 'garments in proper colors and pants in contrasting colors,' that is, the upper garment should be of a solid and uniform color, while the lower garment should have contrasting colors.

The third is the 'ruqun' system, also belonging to the system of wearing upper and lower garments separately. Generally used for daily wear. 'Combing hair on three sides and wearing clothes in two pieces' has become the characteristic of traditional Chinese women's clothing.

What are the styles of women's Hanfu?

Ruqun category: Ru, also known as short top, is classified according to styles, including duijin (also known as straight collar), jiaolin (also known as oblique placket), tanlin (also known as U-collar), etc. Qun, also known as skirt, is usually a one-piece wrap-around skirt, classified according to manufacturing methods into pleated skirt, flat panel skirt, etc.

Ruqun is further divided into qiyao ruqun, gaoyao ruqun, qixiong ruqun, duojin ruqun, etc., paired with half-sleeves, also known as half-sleeve ruqun, and can also be paired with cape. The sleeves are not limited to narrow sleeves and can also be straight sleeves, wide sleeves, broad sleeves, etc. The characteristic of ruqun is that the upper garment is short and the lower garment is long, and the skirt is tied above the waist to show a slim figure. The skirt strap is made of fabric or palace cord, not wide waistbands or waistbands.

Curved-hem robe: A type of deep garment, the back piece of the garment is long, and the extended garment front forms a triangle. The curved-hem robe is divided into single-curved, double-curved, and triple-curved according to the number of rounds around the front. According to the length of the garment, it is divided into long curved-hem robe and short curved-hem robe. It generally has a waistband and long straps for tying.

Straight-hem robe: After the Eastern Han Dynasty, the curved-hem robe gradually replaced by the straight-hem robe due to its cumbersome wearing. The straight-hem robe is a kind of daily wear rather than ceremonial wear, with styles such as long straight-hem robe, short straight-hem robe, fish-tail straight-hem robe, etc.