From the beginning of the hanfu revival to today, regardless of the general acceptance of hanfu, there are always some hanfu lovers who wear hanfu to some events and occasionally encounter the question asked by others: Are you going to attend a Peking Opera performance or the recording of the show?
Of course, such embarrassing situations may be rarer nowadays, but most people still confuse traditional Chinese opera costumes with the hanfu.
The costumes used in Beijing opera are also categorized with traditional Chinese opera costumes, which are different from the Chinese hanfu costume.
It is because some of the opera costumes are inspired by hanfu and naturally there are similarities in some parts, but what are the specific differences between the two? Let's follow the Hanfu Shidai (汉服世代) and find out.
Chinese Opera costume vs Hanfu
Hanfu - the full name of the Han traditional costume system - is divided into two historical stages: ancient and modern.
- The ancient hanfu originated from the creation of the Yellow Emperor's garments and vanished at the beginning of the Qing Dynasty under the policy of "Tifa Yifu", which was a self-contained cultural system.
- The modern hanfu is a traditional national dress system constructed by inheriting the basic contents of the ancient hanfu.
Hanfu is an important part of modern Chinese culture and even Chinese civilization. The general commonalities of hanfu in all generations distilled into "Ping(平)Zhong(中)Jiao(交)You (右), Kuan(宽)Tuan(褖)He(合)Ying(缨)".
Not only the description of the appearance, but also the connotation that is closely related to the Chinese culture, which is also a typical symbol of the hanfu system.
The opera costumes mentioned referring to China's traditional opera costumes, also known as Xi Fu (戏服), which are the costumes worn on specific occasions in China's traditional dramas (operas), such as Huangmei opera and Kun opera.
In order to express specific dramatic contents, with the main purpose of achieving the desired artistic effect.
Although there may be parts of opera costumes that take design inspiration from hanfu, the difference is that there are no seasons or dynasties in opera costumes, and they can be basically common among the types of opera.
There are similarities between opera costumes and hanfu, but one cannot simply assume that opera costumes are hanfu.
- Firstly, because there is a very obvious difference between the way opera costumes are tailored and traditional hanfu, and this difference is becoming more and more obvious as time goes by.
- Secondly, because opera costumes are costumes with appropriate and necessary exaggerations and distortions based on reality, and do not have the universal applicability of everyday wear.
Chinese traditional opera costume is a general term that includes more than 20 styles such as Mang (蟒, python), Kao (靠), Pei (帔) and Zhe (褶, pleat).
In terms of color selection, there was also a very regular and strict hierarchy, with yellow, red, green, white, and black as the main colors, and purple, blue, pink, lake, bronze, or tea brown as the secondary colors.
The next part of the example is to illustrate the difference between opera costume and hanfu.
The Mang Pao (蟒袍, python robe) in hanfu was originally the official dress of the Ming dynasty, and at that time it was the dress that the emperor rewarded to the meritorious ministers. But in the Qing dynasty it gradually changed to be worn by everyone from the royalty to the uninitiated.
However, in traditional Chinese opera, the setting of the python robe is free from the limitations of the dynasty, the emperor generally wears a yellow dragon robe on stage, and the python robe is the costume of the civil and military officials, and the element of water sleeves is added.
Later, with the rise of Kun Opera, many of the opera costumes were influenced by the costume style of the Ming Dynasty and were designed and modified based on this. The Pei in Kun Opera is an opera costume created based on the Pifeng (披风) of the Ming Dynasty.
By comparison, there is a clear difference between the hanfu Pifeng and the female Pei of the opera costume.
The most prominent point is that the hanfu Pifeng shown above is designed with wide sleeves, and the sleeves are widened from the root to the cuff, while the sleeves of the Pei in the opera costume are basically the same in width from the root to the cuff, and are decorated with water sleeves at the cuff, which is more floating than the hanfu.
In addition, the opera costume is more exaggerated in terms of expression. For example, the wide robe and large sleeves in hanfu generally give a sense of floating, while in opera costumes, the front section of the sleeves are decorated with water sleeves as decoration, so that the visual feeling of floating and moving is more prominent.
In general, the main venue for opera costumes is on the stage, where they work with the actors' makeup to express the drama plot and reflect the characters' characteristics. Hanfu, on the other hand, is mainly for daily life, and there are different dress codes for different occasions.
There is a profound connection between opera costumes and hanfu, which are interrelated but independent of each other, so opera costumes cannot be simply equated with hanfu, nor can the two be mixed together.
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