Hanfu, a traditional Chinese costume, has gained popularity in recent years as an alternative fashion choice for modern Chinese youth. But the history of Hanfu goes much deeper than just fashion. In this article, we will take a look at the reasons why Chinese people wear Hanfu, and its significance throughout history.
Origins of Hanfu
Hanfu, which literally means “Han clothing”, refers to the traditional clothing worn by the Han people, the largest ethnic group in China. The earliest record of Hanfu can be traced back to the Shang Dynasty (16th-11th century BCE), when people wore simple robes made from animal hides. During the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE), the Hanfu style began to evolve, and different styles emerged in different regions. For example, the “ruqun” style of Hanfu, which consists of a blouse and a skirt, originated in the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534 CE).
During the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE), the Hanfu style became standardized, with the Hanfu dress consisting of upper and lower garments, including a robe, skirt, jacket, and undershirt. The style continued to evolve during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE), when the Hanfu style became more colorful and extravagant, incorporating silk and embroidery.
Why Do Chinese People Wear Hanfu?
- Cultural Revival
One reason why Chinese people wear Hanfu is to revive and promote Chinese culture. During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912 CE), the Manchu people took control of China and imposed their own clothing style on the Han people, known as the “qipao”. This led to the decline of Hanfu, and the traditional clothing was excluded from daily life. In recent years, Chinese people have been trying to revive and re-introduce Hanfu to the mainstream by wearing it on special occasions or in daily life.
- Sense of Identity
Wearing Hanfu can also be a way for Chinese people to express their sense of identity and pride in their heritage. With the cultural impact of globalization, many young Chinese people have started to look back at their roots and take pride in their cultural heritage. By wearing traditional Hanfu, they are asserting their identity and affirming their connection to their Chinese roots.
- Aesthetic Appeal
In addition to cultural and identity reasons, there is also an aesthetic appeal to Hanfu. The flowing, loose-fitting garments and stunning embroidery work make Hanfu a stylish and elegant choice for both men and women. Many Hanfu enthusiasts enjoy the feeling of wearing these beautiful garments and appreciate the artistry that goes into creating them.
Significance of Hanfu
Hanfu is not just a piece of clothing, but also carries significant cultural and historical meaning for the Han people. For example, the “hanfu movement” that emerged in recent years is not just about wearing Hanfu, but also involves reclaiming Chinese culture and heritage. Hanfu provides a connection to the past and offers a way to preserve traditional Chinese art and craftmanship.
In addition, Hanfu has been worn by Chinese people during important cultural events such as weddings, coming-of-age ceremonies, and academic examinations. The clothing symbolizes respect, admiration, and loyalty to traditional Chinese values and customs.
In sum, Chinese people wear Hanfu for a variety of reasons: to revive and promote Chinese culture, to express their sense of identity, and for the aesthetic appeal of the garments themselves. But beyond its fashion appeal, Hanfu represents a connection to the past and a way to preserve traditional Chinese culture and heritage. With its rich history and significance, it is no surprise that Hanfu has become a beloved choice for many modern Chinese people.