爱达荷州立大学中国学生学者联谊会

Chinese Association of Idaho State University (CAISU)

China has a long history and many ethnic groups, and the 5,000 years of civilization has accumulated a distinctive style of Chinese clothing. Since ancient times, Chinese costume culture has spread around the world through the world-famous silk road.To get more hanfu dress, you can visit shine news official website.

The traditional Chinese clothing has a unique Oriental charm. As the embodiment of Chinese culture, it has entered the palace of world culture.The cheongsam, or Qipao, is the classic dress for Chinese women, which combines the elaborate elegance of Chinese tradition with unique elements of style. The high- necked, closed-collar cheongsam features a loose chest, asymmetrical fastening, fitted waist, and side slits. To fans, the cheongsam encapsulates a woman's modesty, softness, and beauty. Designed to show off the natural softness of the female form, it also creates the illusion of long, slender legs.

This close-fitting dress, with a high neck and the slits on the sides, comes from China's Manchu Nationality . There is a beautiful legend from the Manchus about the cheongsam.

Legend has it that a young fisherwoman lived by the Jingbo Lake. She was not only beautiful but also clever and skillful. But when fishing, she often felt hindered by her long and loose fitting dress. Then an idea struck her; why not make a more practical dress for work? She got down to sewing and produced a long multi-looped-button gown with slits, which enabled her to tuck in the front piece of her dress, thus making her job much easier. As a fisherwoman, she never dreamed that a fortune would befall on her.

The young emperor who ruled China at that time had a dream one night. In the dream, his dead father told him that a lovely fisherwoman in cheongsam by the Jingbo Lake would become his queen. After awakening from his sleep, the emperor sent his men to look for her. Sure enough, there she was! So she became the queen, bringing her cheongsam with her. Manchu women all followed suit, and soon the cheongsam became popular.

The Cheongsam came from the Manchus who grew out of ancient Nuzhen tribes.In the early 17th century, Nurhachi , a great political and military strategist, unified the various Nuzhen tribes and set up the Eight Banners System.Over the years, a collarless, tube-shaped gown was developed, which was worn by both men and women. That is the embryo of the Qipao. The dress is called Qipao in Chinese or translated as “banner gown“, for it came from the people who lived under the Banner System.

The cheongsam became popular among ladies of the royal family in the Qing Dynasty. At that time, cheongsams were fitted loosely and were so long that they would reach the insteps. Usually, they were made of silk, and the whole dress was embroidered, with broad lace trimmed at the collar, sleeves, and edges.

In the 1920s, the cheongsam changed with the influence of Western styles. The cuffs grew narrower and were usually trimmed with thin lace. The length of the dress was shortened as well. This new adaptation allowed the beauty of the female body to be fully displayed.

In the 1930s, wearing a cheongsam became a fashion among women in the whole China. Various styles existed during this period. Some were short, some were long, with low, high or even no collars at all.

Starting from the 1940s, cheongsams became closer-fitting and more practical. In summer, women wore sleeveless dresses. Cheongsams of this period were seldom adorned with patterns.

The cheongsam didn't become standard female attire until the 1960s. Following Western fashion, the tailors raised the hem, even to above the knee, so that the “long” was no longer long. In the West, during the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the style was deemed something oppressive, like the Victorian bodice.

In Western popular culture, the cheongsam became synonymous with the 1960 movie character Suzie Wong and the sexual objectification of women.

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