Posted by Penta1 on 15. Feb 2012
The cheongsam旗袍 [br] The cheongsam, or Qipao in Chinese, is evolved from a kind of ancient clothing of Manchu ethnic minority. In ancient times, it generally referred to long gowns worn by the people of Manchuria, Mongolia and the Eight-Banner.
In the early years of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), long gowns featured collarless, narrow cuff in the shape of a horse's hoof, buttons down the left front, four slits and a fitting waist. Wearers usually coiled up their cuff, and put it down when hunting or battling to cover the back of hand. In winter, the cuff could serve to prevent cold. The gown had four slits, with one on the left, right, front and back, which reached the knees. It was fitted to the body and rather warm. Fastened with a waistband, the long gown could hold solid food and utensils when people went out hunting. Men's long gowns were mostly blue, gray or green; and women's, white. Another feature of Manchu cheongsam was that people generally wore it plus a waistcoat that was either with buttons down the front, a twisted front, or a front in the shape of lute, etc. [br]
When the early Manchu rulers came to China proper, they moved their capital to Beijing and cheongsam began to spread in the Central Plains. The Qing Dynasty unified China, and unified the nationwide costume as well. At that time, men wore a long gown and a mandarin jacket over the gown, while women wore cheongsam. Although the 1911 Revolution toppled the rule of the Qing (Manchu) Dynasty, the female dress survived the political change and, with succeeding improvements, has become the traditional dress for Chinese women. Till the 1930s, Manchu people, no matter male or female, all wore loose-fitting and straight-bottomed broad-sleeved long gowns with a wide front. The lower hem of women's cheongsam reached the calves with embroidered flower patterns on it, while that of men's cheongsam reached the ankles and had no decorative patterns.
From the 1930s, cheongsam almost became the uniform for women. Folk women, students, workers and highest-tone women all dressed themselves in cheongsam, which even became a formal suit for occasions of social intercourses or diplomatic activities. Later, cheongsam even spread to foreign countries and became the favorite of foreign females. [br]
After the 1940s, influenced by new fashion home and abroad, Manchu men's cheongsam was phased out, while women's cheongsam became narrow-sleeved and fitted to the waist and had a relatively loose hip part, and its lower hem reached the ankles. Then there emerge various forms of cheongsams we see today that emphasize color decoration and set off the beauty of the female shape. [br]
Why do Han people like to wear the cheongsam? The main reason is that it fits well the female Chinese figure, has simple lines and looks elegant. What's more, it is suitable for wearing in all seasons by old and young. The cheongsam can either be long or short, unlined or interlined, woolen or made of silk floss. Besides, with different materials, the cheongsam presents different styles. Cheongsams made of silk with patterns of flowerlet, plain lattices or thin lines demonstrate charm of femininity and staidness; those made of brocade are eye-catching and magnificent and suitable for occasions of greeting guests and attending banquets. [br]
When Chinese cheongsams were exhibited for sales in countries like Japan and France, they received warm welcome from local women, who did not hesitate to buy Chinese cheongsams especially those top-notch ones made of black velour interlined with or carved with golden flowers. Cheongsam features strong national flavor and embodies beauty of Chinese traditional costume. It not only represents Chinese female costume but also becomes a symbol of the oriental traditional costume.
自30年代起，旗袍几乎成了中国妇女的标准服装，民间妇女、学生、工人、达官显贵的太太，无不穿着。旗袍甚至成了交际场合和外交活动的礼服。后来，旗袍还传至国外，为他国女子效仿穿着。 至20世纪30年代，满族男女都穿直统式的宽襟大袖长袍。女性旗袍下摆至（骨干）(小腿)，有绣花卉纹饰。男性旗袍下摆及踝，无纹饰。 40年代后，受国内外新式服饰新潮的冲击，满族男性旗袍已废弃，女性旗袍由宽袖变窄袖，直筒变紧身贴腰，臀部略大，下摆回收，长及踝，逐渐形成今日各色各样讲究色彩装饰和人体线条美的旗袍样式。 汉族妇女为啥喜爱穿旗袍？主要旗袍的造型与妇女的体态相适合，线条简便，优美大方，所以，有人认为旗袍是中国女人独有的福音，可起到彩云托月的作用。而且，旗袍是老少宜穿，四季相宜，雅俗共赏。 根据季节的变化和穿着者的不同需要、爱好，可长可短，可做单旗袍、夹旗袍；也可做衬绒短袍、丝棉旗袍。并且，随着选料不同，可展现出不同风格。选用小花、素格、细条丝绸制作，可显示出温和、稳重的风韵；选用织锦类衣料制作，可当迎宾、赴宴的华贵眼饰。[br]
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