Hanfu, also known as Hanyiguan and Hanzhuang, generally refers to the traditional costumes of the Han nationality, but not the clothing people wear in the Han Dynasty. In ancient china, clothing possessed high values with regards to different aspects. In addition to the basic functions of warm-keeping and aesthetic, the most important essences are the cultural and political meaning it represented.
There are many styles of Hanfu, which can be roughly divided into three categories:
- Yichang system, is the kind with the separation of the upper and the lower garments.
- Shenyi system, is the one-piece kind that unites the upper and the lower garments together, make separately and sew together.
- Paofu system, cut out the upper and the lower garments with a piece of cloth, no seam in the middle, natural integration.
Based on these three basic forms of dressing, this article will introduce some classic Hanfu clothing styles.
- Ruqun appeared in the Warring States period, rising in the Wei, Jin and Southern and Northern Dynasties. Ru skirt was the daily dress of ordinary people (women) until the late Ming and Qing Dynasties.
- Ruqun, with the short clothes on the upper body and the skirts on the lower body, is a typical Yichang system. The upper part is called “Ru”, which is generally shorter than the knee; the lower skirt is called “Qun”. Ruqun is actually a combination of two different clothing.
- According to various waist positions, Ruqun can be divided into Qiyao Ruqun (skirt waist as high as waist), Gaoyao Ruqun (high-waist) and chest Ruqun.
- According to the style of collar, Ruqun can be divided into two categories: Jiaoling Ruqun (cross collar), Zhiling Ruqun (straight collar) and Tan-collar Ruqun.
- Aoqun is a general designation for the ancient Han women to wear a jacket (ao) on the upper body and a skirt (qun) on the lower body. The “Aoqun” in Chinese clothing generally refers to the dress made in the Ming Dynasty.
- Ao can be divided into four categories: straight collar, round collar, vertical collar, and square collar.
- Qun: there are different ways to match the Ao in different dynasties. In the Tang Dynasty, the broken skirt (a skirt is sewn together with trapezoid fabric) was used, in the Song Dynasty, the pleated skirt was used, and in the Ming Dynasty, the horse-face skirt (horse-face pleats skirt)was generally used.
In the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, the most typical Hanfu fashion in the society is Shenyi dress. Although the specific forms are different, the overall purpose is to wrap the body tightly.
- Zhiju is a kind of deep garment in the Hanfu system. The bottom part of the straight train is cut vertically, and there is no lace sewn on the clothes. It is fixed by a belt made of cloth or leather.
- Both men and women can wear Zhiju of the Han Dynasty, but it can not be used as a formal dress. The reason is that the ancient pants have no crotch, only two trouser legs to the knee, tied with a belt at the waist. If not covered by a coat, the trousers would be exposed, which was considered disrespectful at that time. After the Han Dynasty, due to the improvement of underwear, Zhiju gradually became the primary mode of deep clothing.
- Quju is a kind of Hanfu, which is a traditional dress in Qin and Han Dynasties. Quju is curved hem, shape tight and narrow, long and can be pulled to the ground, and its bottom is generally in the shape of a trumpet without exposing its feet. There are two kinds of sleeves: wide and narrow. Most of the cuffs are rimmed.
- The appearance of Quju is related to the pants without crotch at the beginning. Quju has better wrapping, which makes it more reasonable and polite. Therefore, Quju is more popular from the pre-Qin to the Han Dynasty.
Round Collar Robe
- Round collar robe is one of the common styles of traditional clothing in East Asia (China, Japan, Korea). It is a kind of wrapper with a round neckline and buttons on the neckline.
- In the Sui and Tang Dynasties, after a large-scale development, the round collar robe is comfortable to wear, and the straight sleeve is also convenient for daily activities. Both men and women can wear gowns. Most of the men’s round collar robes are solid colors without patterns. Women’s round collar robes are brightly colored and have many patterns.
- After the Song Dynasty, the round collar robe became one of the official costumes, which was also widely used in the later Ming Dynasty. The round collar robe and its matching Buzi (a kind of fabric) became the most convenient way to distinguish the official class.
- Flying-fish clothing is a kind of robe with the flying-fish pattern as Buzi. It’s a classic gift from the emperor in Ming Dynasty. Flying fish is not a kind of sea fish as known by most people, but a fictional image similar to the dragon head, fish body, and wings.
- Flying fish suit is a kind of grand dress. Officials are allowed to wear flying fish suit only when they reach a certain rank. In the Ming Dynasty, it was mainly worn by senior eunuchs and Jinyiwei (the exclusive intelligence agency of the Ming Dynasty).
Of course, after more than 20 dynasties, Hanfu has been developing continuously. In addition to the classic styles, Hanfu has also derived the relevant hat and shoes, accessories, patterns and etiquette culture. It is not only the essence of Chinese traditional culture, but also has a positive impact on the development of costume culture in surrounding countries.