Shenyi - Ancient Hanfu Style Revered by Confucians

In the previous article, we mentioned that the Shenyi (深衣) was slightly similar in appearance to the Daofu, which was inherited from the previous dynasty.

But in modern hanfu, Shenyi is often thought to refer to Zhiju Shenyi and Quju Shenyi. In fact, Shenyi is considered to be the Fa Fu (法服) of ancient sages and has been highly revered by Confucians.

let's follow Hanfu Culture Society to learn more about Shenyi, one of the oldest forms of Chinese dress!

 

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[Structure and History]

Shenyi, Jiaoling Youren (交领右衽), wide sleeves. It is generally white or jade, with Zao (皁, zào, i.e., black) edge at the collar and sleeve edges of the lapel.

White and black are the most original two colors, symbolizing the alternation of light and dark, Yin and Yang. The upper and lower parts of the garment are cut separately and connected at the waist, symbolizing the unity of heaven and earth.

The lower garment is made of twelve pieces, six at the front and six at the back, symbolizing the twelve months, and the middle seam of the upper garment is connected to the middle seam of the lower garment.

Shenyi - Ancient Hanfu Style Revered by Confucians Shenyi - Ancient Hanfu Style Revered by Confucians

The difference between Shenyi and Shenyi system: Shenyi is closely integrated with traditional culture and etiquette, and it must meet the requirements of "etiquette" in terms of "color", "shape" and "meaning".

The "Shenyi system" only takes the "shape" of "Shenyi", and in a broad sense, is a clothing system in which the upper garment and lower garment are connected.

Shenyi system originated in the Warring States period, early main style for the Quju Shenyi and Zhiju Shenyi two. At this time, the boundary between Shenyi system and robes became very blurred.

Shenyi - Ancient Hanfu Style Revered by Confucians Shenyi - Ancient Hanfu Style Revered by Confucians

Due to the detailed deviation of scholars' understanding of the Book of Rites and its annotations, the specific form of Shenyi was also controversial, resulting in the production of some dresses once away from the traditional sense of Shenyi system.

During the Song Dynasty, when the Neo-Confucianism flourished, the Shenyi also given renewed attention. Scholars such as Zhu Xi and Nie Chongyi in the Song Dynasty offered different opinions on the concept of Shenyi and produced different styles and forms of Shenyi according to their understanding of Shenyi.

Shenyi - Ancient Hanfu Style Revered by Confucians

Zhu Xi's examination and drawing of the Shenyi schematic diagram

Zhu Xi in his work Jia Li (家礼) test Shenyi was later called "Zhuzi Shenyi". Zhuzi Shenyi, when wearing the collar overlapping wear, presenting a cross collar style. At the same time, the Fujin (幅巾) began to become the Shoufu (headdress) of the Shenyi.

The Shenyi of the Ming Dynasty also saw changes such as changing the sleeves to wide sleeves, but its shape roughly maintained the basic style of the Zhuzi Shenyi of the Song Dynasty.

Shenyi - Ancient Hanfu Style Revered by Confucians Shenyi - Ancient Hanfu Style Revered by Confucians

At the end of the Qing Dynasty and the beginning of the Republic of China, Zhang Taiyan and other revolutionary party scholars had a small-scale revival of the Shenyi, but it did not have a wide impact on society.

It was not until the beginning of this century that Shenyi began to be reappreciated and gradually revived in folk and academic circles.

Shenyi - Ancient Hanfu Style Revered by Confucians

Schematic diagram of the Shenyi in the Siku Quanshu

 

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[Wearing Occasion]

When wearing the Shenyi, the waist is often tied with a Dadai (大带), knotted in front of the waist, with the end drooping on both sides, also called "Shen (绅)", decorated with Zao colored edge. Outside the Dadai, five-color silk Sitao (丝绦) could be added.

The Shoufu is more with the Song Dynasty appearing Fujin, also called "Haoran Jin (浩然巾)", the upper end of a pair of ties around the forehead knot, the lower end is longer, hanging in the back of the head. This kind of Shoufu can also be worn in the cooler days, with other forms of robes.

Shenyi - Ancient Hanfu Style Revered by Confucians Shenyi - Ancient Hanfu Style Revered by Confucians

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