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Chinese clothing through the ages

Basically what the title says. The prezi is for a Chinese class project. Info from "Top China Travel (.com)"

Philomath Bibliophile

on 11 March 2011

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Transcript of Chinese clothing through the ages

Chinese Clothing History of Chinese Clothing China has been home to many different ethnic groups throught history (the majority being the Han people), and for thousands of years designers have immersed themselves into building their 'Kingdom of Clothes', making Chinese costume an important part of Chinese culture. Clothing manufacture in China dates back to prehistoric times, at least 7,000 years ago. Archaeological findings of 18,000 year-old artifacts such as bone sewing needles and stone beads and shells with holes bored in them attest to the existence of ornamentation and of sewing extremely early in Chinese civilization. The idea of fashion reached a new height during the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States periods, when wars broke out frequently and the various states spared no effort to enhance their strength. The different styles of clothes showed people's positions and the states they came from. The Qin and Han dynasties (221 B.C. - A.D. 220) witnessed the unification of territory as well as written language. Qin Shihuang, the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty, established many social systems, including one for uniforms to distinguish people's ranks and social positions. China's complete code of costume and trappings was established in the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD). The yarn-dyeing, embroidering and metal-processing technologies developed rapidly in the period, spurring changes in costume and adornments. Chinese clothing experienced a rapid development during the Wei, Jin, and Southern and Northern dynasties (220-589). Before 265, the cultures and esthetic views of the peoples in north and south China merged because of the moves initiated by frequent wars. Many philosophical schools of thought influenced both people's lives and the conceptions of clothing design. The Tang Dynasty (618-907) wrote the most brilliant page in the history of Chinese clothing. People's clothes were more varied than before because the state was more open to the outside world and people became more cosmopolitan in their thinking. The clothes for women could be called fashionable because they changed rapidly and were showy. Once only a new style came out, many people would be willing to take it. Casual wear appeared during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), and clothes were simple and elegant. During the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368), the Mongolian ethnic group, known as the People on Horseback, was in power. The style of clothing was mainly a combination of Mongolian and Han. Clothes were luxurious for upper class yet simple and unadorned in design. Dramatic changes took place during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). A new conception came into being in clothing design, with no limitation to one style and advocating natural beauty, thus bringing vigor and vitality to the clothing culture. During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), clothes became elegant, poised, and glorious. During the 200 years of the Qing Empire, the entire world witnessed dramatic changes such as the Renaissance in Italy and Columbus's discovery of the Americas, but the changes did not affect traditional Chinese clothing because China had a closed-door policy. People still wore clothes showing rank and lifestyle. The retreat from outside cultures has left a precious heritage for traditional Chinese clothes. Features Because of relatively plain design and structure of traditional Chinese clothing, embroidered edgings, decorated bands, draped cloth or silks, patterns on the shoulders, and sashes were often added as ornamentation. These varied designs came to be one of the unique features of traditional Chinese dress. Darker colors were much more favored than lighter ones in traditional Chinese clothing so the main color of ceremonial clothing tended to be dark while bright, elaborate tapestry designs accented. Lighter colored clothing was worn more frequently by the common people for everyday use. The Chinese associate certain colors with specific seasons: green represents spring, red symbolizes summer, white represents autumn, and black symbolizes winter. The Chinese are said to have a fully developed system of matching, coordinating, and contrasting colors and shades of light and dark in apparel. Red is favorite for most Chinese people since Red symbolizes good luck in traditional mind. Chinese people prefer to wear in red when they are celebrating some important festivals or events in their life, such as wedding ceremony. Main Types The pienfu is an ancient two-piece ceremonial costume of a tunic-like top extending to the knees and a skirt or trousers extending to the ankles. The changpao is a one-piece garment extending from the shoulders all the way to the heels. The shenyi is a cross between the pienfu and the changpao; it consists of a tunic and a skirt or trousers like the pienfu, but the tunic and the skirt are sewed together and essentially one piece like the changpao. It utilized a very minimum number of stitches for the amount of cloth used. The shenyi was the most widely worn of the three types. Imperial Clothes Qing Emperor's Dresses Qing emperors' dress adhered to a rigid code that specified clothing for every occasion: ceremonial robes for the most formal ceremonial occasions, court wear for holding audiences, auspicious garments worn during the celebration of festive occasions such as Lunar New Year and his birthday, informal clothing to be worn in his private quarters, and travel ensembles to be worn during the hunt, expeditions and inspection tours. Each ensemble consisted of several garments, headgear, belts, shoes and accessories. The ensembles included seasonal variants. Winter garments, for example, were lined with fur. Qing Emperess's Dresses Requisite silks, gauzes, satins, brocades and damasks of the highest quality were woven in the imperial weaving factory in Suzhou, and the clothing was sumptuously embroidered and embellished with gold, pearls and precious stones. In Qing dynasties, there happened some cases where the empress held the royal court together with emperor. In that case, the empress had to wear a certain kind of court robes to show her status. Winter court hats of empress dowagers and empresses were made of fumed marten and sewn with red wefts. Their hats adorned with pearl, gold pheasant patterns, gems and jade ornaments had protective collar behind the neck with drooping bright yellow ribbons. The winter court robes of empress dowagers, queens and high-ranked imperial concubines were bright yellow, and also decorated with images of dragon patterns. Summer court hats were made of cyan velvet. Empress dowagers, queens and high-ranked imperial concubines used cyan sheets with gold-wrapped metal trims to decorate their court costumes; images of dragons and Chinese characters Fu (blessing) and Shou (longevity) were embroidered on the clothes. Necklines of dresses of empress dowagers and queens were made of golden filament and decorated with pearls, turquoises and jade ornaments. Three sets of necklaces were hung on the chest when empress dowagers and queens wore court robes. When an empress dowager or queen was in auspicious clothing, she always wore one set of necklace made of pearls, jade and other top-grade materials. Court necklaces of imperial concubines were decorated with ambers, each having 108 beads in four parts divided by three big ones. Wedding Dresses As aforementioned, red is favorite for all Chinese people for red is considered as good luck that can keep evil spirits away. So you will find the bride and groom (and everyone else) wear in red at their wedding. The traditional Chinese wedding dress in northern Chinese usually is one piece frock named Qipao, embroidered with elaborate gold and silver design. Brides in Southern China prefer to wear two-piece dress name Qungua or Kwa, which also elaborately adorn with a gold dragon and phoenix. During the traditional Chinese wedding ceremony, the bride is handed by her groom. Her head is covered by a red veil which is falling down to her shoulder for whole period. The veil is not taken off until all the relatives and friends have left. The groom needs to put the veil off by himself only. The bride covering veil is symbolises the special occasion that the newly-weds are eager for their life togwther. During the wedding ceremony, the bride usually wears a special pair of wedding shoes. For example, in Southern Fujian Province, the bride has to wear a pair of shoes embroidered with patterns of a turtle or a deer, which symbolizes blessing, happiness and longevity after marriage. In southern Zhejiang Province, the bride has to wear a pair of shoes named Shang Jiao Xie (shoes worn while stepping into the sedan chair) before getting into the sedan is for the sake of praying for auspiciousness. Either the bride or others can make the wedding shoes. These kinds of shoes are made with red and green cloth and usually with a soft sole. When a bride is going to step into the sedan chair, she is supposed to wear these shoes. In some places, relatives who are thought to have good fortune make such shoes, while in other areas, they are made by the bride and another single girl in the morning of the wedding day.
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