Daofu (道服, Dào fú) has two meanings in Chinese:
- refers to Taoist clothing, the robes worn outside by Taoists;
- one of the Chinese traditional costume Hanfu styles: Ming Dynasty costume for males.
Obviously, they are different kinds of clothes, today, let’s learn about the traditional sense of “Daofu” through the Hanfu Culture Society!
[Structure and History]
Daofu, Jiaoling Youren (交领右衽, wrapping the right side before the left), wide sleeves, with dark edging at the collar edge, sleeve edge, and placket, sometimes with a Huling (护领, collar protector) in collar edge.
- Jiaoling Youren (交领右衽, wrapping the right side before the left);
- wide sleeves;
- with dark edging at the collar edge, sleeve edge, and placket;
- sometimes with a Huling (护领, collar protector) in collar edge;
- the slit is embellished with an inner hem;
- both inner and outer have the strap;
In simple terms, it can be seen as a “Taoist robe” with edges added. In fact, the similarity between Daofu and Shenyi can be seen through its appearance, it is a style inherited from the previous dynasty by the Ming dynasty.
When wearing a Daofu, it is often worn with a thin cloth belt, Sitao (丝绦, a ribbon or rope made of silk), or “Dadai (大带)” at the waist. Dadai is mainly used in Shenyi, Daofu, and other cultural and ceremonial clothing, and its material and color are mostly the same as that of clothes, and in the early days, it was tied at the waist with a ribbon, which was later improved.
Dadai in two parts: ①One is a belt body, a portion around the waist, equal in length to the waist. ②The other is the draping part (called “Shen” in ancient times), which is divided into two parts, one of which is sewn to the belt body and one of which hangs down naturally, with narrow edges. And Sitao can be added to the Dadai.
The concept of “Daofu” appeared very early, and it should be noted that it did not refer to a specific style at that time, but was derived from the regular clothes worn by Taoist priests, which were different from the Daofu of literati. During the Sui and Tang dynasties, the phenomenon of literati wearing Daofu appeared sporadically, and gradually formed a social trend in the Fifth Dynasty, then became a great phenomenon in the Northern Song Dynasty. Literati mainly wore Daofu in two situations: in the private lives of serving officials, and in the daily lives of resigned literati.
The first signs of the formation of the Daofu were probably in the Song dynasty, and according to the documents recorded, the Daofu at that time was a crossed collar and no slit, worn overlapping. During the Ming dynasty, Daofu became a fixed style.
In ancient times, the Daofu was a popular dress for scholars, which could be used as a casual dress for daily wear and as a relatively formal dress for the commoners.
In today’s society, it is more suitable to be worn as a formal dress. The Daofu can be worn with a variety of headdresses, such as the Tang scarf or the square scarf, and it is also common to find similar combinations in ancient portraits.
The Daofu carried the noble personality and spiritual sustenance of the literati who lived in peace with themselves and were pure in their intentions. This kind of character also plays an important role in today’s society, and hope that when you wear it, you can see where your heart belongs.