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History Of Chinese

Teacher: (Laura Chao)

Chinese clothing has a long-term
history. For the ancient Chinese, the
purpose of clothes was not just for
protecting and covering the body, but
for showing profound meanings which
prevailed in society. Thus, observing
the development of clothes gives us a
chance to understand their society,
economy, culture, and even their

During the Shang and
Zhou Dynasties, people
wore a suit of clothes,
which consisted of a long
top part with a belt around
the waist and a lower part.
The top part came in five
primary colors: blue, red,
yellow, white and black. It
had short sleeves with a
hem that dangled to the
knees. Also, the hems of
the neck and sleeves
would be beautifully

During war time,

more convenient
clothes were needed,
so a new type of
clothing came into
being. The long top
part was replaced with
a short form. The
people began to wear
trousers and boots,
which made it easier
to move in combat.
This new type of
clothing was popular
at that time.

Han Dynasty
People in the
Western Han Dynasty
used four seasons and
solar terms to determine
the colors of their
clothing. For instance,
when spring came, they
dressed in blue. Women
in the Han Dynasty
dressed themselves in
an outfit that consisted
of a blouse and a skirt.

The Han Dynasty

was powerful and its
economy was steady, so
its people had higher
demands in make-up
and clothing.
Meanwhile, the famous
Silk Road started and
promoted the
interchange between
Chinese and Western
cultures. Therefore, silk
spread around the world
through the Silk Road,
and the western style in
clothing also began to
affect the Chinese.
Through this
assimilation, new trends

Wei, Jin, Northern and Southern

The Wei, Jin, Northern

and Southern Dynasties
were not stable. In fact,
the society was in great
turmoil. Therefore, the
intellectuals avoided
politics but resorted to
the philosophies of
Taoism and Buddhism,
which affected their
clothing. They preferred
to wear loose clothes,
mainly in white.

During this
period, men liked
to wear head
decorations in light
color. As for the
intellectuals, they
would use squareshaped cloth to fix
and cover their
hairstyle at the
same time.

clothing followed a
similar trend. They
especially liked to
wear dresses with
loose belts around
the waist and
pieces of triangleshaped cloth on the
back of the skirt.
They wanted to
create the image of
a bird flying when
they walked.

It was until the Northern and

Southern dynasties that womens
clothes, which were influenced by
the Northern Chinese, became
more light and convenient than the
clothing of Han dynasty.

Tang Dynasty
The Tang
Dynasty was a great
era where the
frequent interchange
of cultures between
the East and the
West happened,
which transformed
the traditional
clothes into a brandnew trend.

With the development of

textile, more slight and soft
cloth had been invented
and thus gave more
change in clothes. The
characteristic of this era is
low-cup, narrow sleeve,
cape, clothes of women
disguise as men, highwaist, tight-clothes, MingYi( ), the clothes of
other nationality ( ).

Women usually
wore dresses with a
belt fastened above
the breast. The colors
of dresses mostly
came in red, purple,
yellow and green. The
dress would contain a
low-cut bodice with a
cape behind. Besides,
women would put on
an additional dress
made of transparent
silk. The kind of dress
used to be underwear
before the Tang

Song Dynasty
This was the time
for the emergence of li
xue, a school of
Confucianism in
idealistic philosophy.
Affected by the
thoughts, the clothes of
Song dynasty were
usually plain.
Most of vestments
were big sleeve. They
used different colors of
clothes to tell their

Womens clothes of
Song dynasty were very
similar to those of Han
dynasty. They were long
dresses with narrow
sleeves. Additionally,
women would put on a

Apart from
dresses, women in
Song dynasty wore
pants as well. There
was a special custom
of foot-binding at
that time. The Song
people considered
foot-binding a symbol
of beauty and
elegance. Therefore,
women would wear
pants shorter than
their legs to expose
their bound feet to
catch peoples eyes.

Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty was
influenced by the Han
nationality. Clothing had
become more and more
gorgeous and featured on
robe. Because of Mongol
nationalitys custom, men
in that time liked to grow
plaited hair and wear
earring. They wore a widebrimmed rain hat in
summer, while wore fur
coat, leather boot and
leather hat in winter. Many
of mandarins clothes were
robe had narrow sleeves.

Women of Mongol clothes

were similar to mens, but
their colors were different.
Plenty of womens clothes
were and had tight and
narrow sleeves. When women
wore a robe, they also wore
pants, and used a band to tie
on waist. Instead, women of
Han nationality featured on
. Their clothes were
and loose or narrow sleeves.
They wore long pants in the
pleated skirt and wore
shallow-bottom shoes. The
rich women of Mongol
nationality had a specialshaped hat which was tall and

Ming Dynasty
Men in Min
Dynasty wore long

Women in Min
Dynasty wore shirt( ) ,
coat, (a kind of
plaid) and skirt. Their
clothes were feat body.
They just could wear light
color but couldnt wear
deep red and yellow.
However, clothes of ladies
were fit and slemder,
such as long coat and
long skirt. They would
wear pleated skirt, long
vest and shawl.

Qing Dynasty
The trait of clothing of
Qing Dynasty were retaining
and absorbing Han
nationality and Manchus
custom. Men of Qing
Dynastys mainly clothes
were robe, jacket( ) and
vest( ) . Because
Manchu liked riding-shoot,
their sleeves of robe were
looked like a horses hoof.
had been wore out of the
robe, whether men or
women could wear it. On
the vest( ) were much
adornment of colorful

Women of Qing
Dynasty liked the
slender figure. They
often wore a
cheongsam, combed the
chignon on hair flat,
fashioned put an upright
board which artificial
flowers were sewed on
and wore tall-bottomed
shoes. The rich women
of Qing Dynasty would
inlay jadeite coral,
pearls or white jade on
the adornment which
was inserted on the
chignon and wore nail
coats made of jewel to
protect their fingernail.

When the Xin-Hai(
) revolution happened in
1911, three demands
came from the people:
abolishing the monarchy,
cutting off the braid,
changing the traditional
clothes into the new ones.
During that time, men
began to wear unlined
upper garments and
jackets. The young people
usually wore western-style
clothes. Zhong-Shan( )
style clothes also became
a trend for the Chinese
during the reformation.

Zhong-Shan( ) style
clothes appeared after the
Xin-Hai revolution. This new
style combines the
traditional characteristics
with the western clothes. It
features a chink and a
waistband on the backside.
Besides, there are always
nine buttons on the front part
of the garment, and folds on
the pockets. The ZhongShan( ) style has its
special politically symbolic
meaning. The five pockets,
one of which is inside the
garment, represent the five
constitutional principles by
Dr. Sun Ye-Shan ( )

Other Decorations
1. Foot-binding
2. Dang

Foot-binding was a special kind of Chinese
custom prevailing in the early 20th century.
At that time, women had to use a long piece
of cloth to tie their feet since childhood. They
wanted to stop the growing of the feet, for
smaller feet were thought more attractive to
men. Women with bound-feet could not walk
properly, but had to walk on their heels. After
the end of the Chin Dynasty, more and more
people started to consider the food-binding a
kind of repression for women, and then the
old custom has been banned legally now.

Dang ( ) is also a kind of ornament worn on the forehead
by women as a decoration. Due to its various components,
Dang is colorful. For example, a golden one is usually made of
foil. Besides, the pictures on Dang may determine its color as
well. There is a popular one, named Zui Dang ( ). It got its
name from the picture with birds feather made of green

The special glue used to paste the

Dang was called Ho-Chiao( ).
Legend has it that the special glue is
made of fish pneumatocysts. When
women wanted to peel the Dang off,
first, they should blow it on, and apply
a little saliva on it, and then the glue
may dissolve. Otherwise, they could
use hot water to pat on their forehead,
and then the glue could come off.