The Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) is widely regarded as a glorious era in Chinese history, characterized by its vibrant culture, cosmopolitan society, and remarkable artistic achievements. One significant aspect of Tang culture was the fashion, particularly the clothing style known as Hanfu. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of Hanfu in the Tang Dynasty, exploring its shape, features, and the cultural significance it held during this remarkable period.
- The Influence of Hanfu:
Hanfu, which translates to “Han clothing,” refers to the traditional attire worn by the Han Chinese people. Originally inspired by the clothing styles of the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD), Hanfu underwent significant transformations over time. The Tang Dynasty witnessed a fusion of various fashion influences, including Central Asian and Persian influences, resulting in a distinctive and unique Tang-style Hanfu.
- Silhouette and Styles:
The Tang-style Hanfu featured a distinct shape that highlighted the natural curves of the human body. The clothing was loose-fitting, with elaborate sleeves and flowing lines that accentuated elegant movements. The garments were designed to emphasize gracefulness and were tailored to enhance the wearer’s figure. Some notable Tang-style Hanfu garments include:
a. Ruqun: The most common attire for both men and women, the Ruqun consisted of a blouse-like top and a long skirt. For men, the top was high-collared and often had crossed lapels, while women’s blouses featured a deeper neckline and wider sleeves, sometimes extending to the ground.
b. Beizi: Worn over the Ruqun, the Beizi was a sleeveless vest-like garment. It added layers and depth to the overall outfit and was often adorned with ornate embroidery or intricate patterns.
c. Daopao: A long, robe-like garment worn by various social classes, the Daopao featured wide sleeves and was typically belted at the waist. It represented a more formal attire option and was favored by both men and women.
d. Banshan: This was a style of Hanfu characterized by its one-piece design, similar to a modern-day dress. Banshans were typically made of elaborate silk fabrics and adorned with intricate embroidery, making them a popular choice for formal occasions.
- Fabrics and Colors:
The Tang Dynasty was known for its luxurious fabrics and vibrant color palette. Silk was the favored fabric, representing wealth and social status. Various types of silk, such as gauze, brocade, and damask, were used. The patterns and colors of the fabrics often reflected the wearer’s social status, with rich, deep hues reserved for the upper class, while lighter and pastel shades were preferred by the lower class. Some common colors included crimson, royal yellow, emerald green, and indigo.
- Accessories and Hairstyles:
Accessories were an integral part of Tang-style Hanfu, complementing the overall attire and adding a touch of elegance. Women adorned themselves with exquisite jewelry, such as hairpins, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Belts, waistbands, and decorative sashes were popular accessories for both men and women, enhancing the outfit’s overall aesthetic.
Hairstyles in the Tang Dynasty were elaborate and symbolic. Women often displayed their social status through intricately styled hairdos adorned with ornaments and hairpieces. Men typically wore their hair long, neatly tied or braided with various types of decorative ties.
- Cultural Significance:
Hanfu in the Tang Dynasty reflected not only fashion sensibilities but also cultural and societal values. Clothing choices were influenced by social status, with sumptuary laws regulating what each class could wear. The vibrant colors and luxurious fabrics showcased the prosperity and cultural richness of the Tang Dynasty. Hanfu also played a role in promoting cultural exchange, as the Tang Dynasty was a hub for international trade and diplomacy, attracting merchants and emissaries from various regions.
Hanfu in the Tang Dynasty represented an unparalleled era of fashion, combining grace, elegance, and cultural significance. The flowing silhouettes, vibrant colors, and intricate designs exemplified the artistic achievements and luxurious lifestyle of this epoch. Tang-style Hanfu continues to inspire modern-day fashion, showcasing the enduring legacy of this remarkable period in history.