If you’ve watched as much historical cdrama as I have, you may have noticed that the characters typically wear some type of clothing that’s relatively easy to move in. Sometimes, it’s in bursts of color or invokes a sense of awe. If you guessed it, yes! I’m talking about Chinese Hanfu.
What IS Chinese Hanfu and what are the origins?
Happy belated Lunar Year everyone! I hope you enjoy this brief little cultural context.
Let’s jump right into it!
Hanfu Movement in Modern day China
What’s interesting here is that the beautiful appearance and the profound culture behind Hanfu are gaining popularity.
Among the young generation both in China and also abroad. (Google hanfu movement if you don’t believe me!)
However, people know very little about Hanfu.
Not only the concept of “Hanfu” itself, but also the name of the structure of Hanfu, let alone the cultural connotation behind it.
Brief History of Hanfu
Hanfu (汉服), literally ‘Han clothes’, is one of the traditional types of Chinese clothing. (Think of CDramas like Word of Honor, The Story of Minglan, The Untamed, etc.)
Random fact here: People have been often mistakenly regarded Hanfu as the costumes of the Han Dynasty (汉朝, 221 – 207 BC).
But in fact, Hanfu is the traditional dress for all the “Han” people.
And “Han” is the traditional ethnic group of China. Forming the overwhelming majority in the country.
Later on, Hanfu was seen as the characteristics of Han people before the Qing Dynasty when the Manchus (another ethnic group) reigned.
The Different Types of Chinese Hanfu
- Shenyi (深衣)
- The top and dress are connected, but are in different colors so you can tell where one begins and ends
- Emphasizes gracefulness and elegance
- Worn by men and women
- Ruqun (襦裙)
- Short clothes worn on the upper body, called “Ru” while the dress that makes up the lower body called “Qun” (hence the naming here)
- Worn by females
- Yishang (衣裳)
- Yishang is the most basic clothing for men’s hanfu while for women, the character “Yi” signifies any open cross collar garment
For more details on how these garments are named piece by piece, go check out this article by New Hanfu.
I’ve been sorely tempted by how beautiful some of the hanfus are.
Especially the more modern-looking ones!