Chinese Traditional Costume – Qipao

Chinese Traditional Costume – Qipao

Chinese Traditional Costume – QipaoQipao is a typical traditional Chinese costume. After Nurhaci ,a great militarist and statesman, unified the Nvzhen tribes and set up the Eight Banners ,an nationality called “Manchu” was estabilshed in the early 17th century. Their people were called “Qi people” and their clothing was called “Qipao”.

At first ,a qipao looks just like this: a round collar,narrow sleeves ,a right overlapping. Their dresses are always the same pattern, only the material changes during the four seasons.

After the Manchu entered and hosted the central plains of China, the style and material of qipao have changed a lot. For example, the sleeves became profuse so that people can move more easily, and silk was used to make qipao more comfortable in summer.

A qipao called “eighteen embeded” was popular at that time. It has eighteen decorative borders and looks fantastic.

But after the Qing dynasty was destroyed, qipao changed again. The side slit was higher and the sleeves became tight again.

Qipao became a costume only for the female. At that time, qipao was quite popular in Shanghai, people drew women in different kinds of qipao and printed those pictures on calendars.

Below are pictures from such calendars:

Qipao Calendar 1Qipao Calendar 2Qipao Calendar 3Qipao Calendar 4Qipao Calendar 5Qipao Calendar 6

But after the establishment of China, qipao was replaced by modern dresses and faded away.

Fortunately, the film “in the mood for love” directed by Kar-wai Wong gave qipao a revival. Maggie Cheung showed more than 20 sets of qipao in that movie and made it extremely popular again. Qipao showed the beauty of female’s body curve and style.

It is no doubt that qipao will still be popular in the next 10、100 even 1000 years as long as there is pursuit of beauty.

Qipao (in the mood for love) 2Qipao (in the mood for love) 3Qipao (in the mood for love) 5

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  1. It’s not a costume.

  2. Hi, you are quite right. Strictly speaking it should be a dress. But in a general definition of costume, we refer to the style of dressing (characteristic to that particular period and culture).

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