A Closer Look at the Names of Traditional Chinese Attire

A Closer Look at the Names of Traditional Chinese Attire

A Closer Look at the Names of Traditional Chinese Attire


Traditional Chinese attire has a rich history and is renowned for its elegance and cultural significance. Each piece of clothing has a specific name, reflecting the nature of the garment and its unique characteristics. In this article, we will delve deeper into the names of various traditional Chinese attire, their meanings, and their significance in Chinese culture.

Types of Traditional Chinese Attire

1. Hanfu

Hanfu, meaning “Han clothing,” refers to the traditional attire worn by the Han ethnic group in China. It showcases a wide range of styles and designs, including robes, jackets, and skirts. The names of specific garments under the Hanfu category often include words like “pao,” “yi,” and “ru,” denoting their respective styles.

2. Cheongsam/Qipao

Cheongsam, also known as Qipao, is a slender and form-fitting dress commonly worn by Chinese women. The name “Qipao” originates from the Manchu language, meaning “banner gown,” as it was initially worn by women in the Manchu ethnic group. The term “cheongsam” emerged during the 1920s, incorporating a Cantonese pronunciation.

3. Tangzhuang

Tangzhuang refers to traditional Chinese clothing with a loose fit and a high collar. It is commonly worn by men and features a wide array of styles, including robes, shirts, and jackets. The name “Tangzhuang” signifies the attire’s association with the Tang Dynasty, renowned for its cultural achievements.

4. Zhongshan Suit/Mao Suit

The Zhongshan suit, also known as the Mao suit, gained popularity during the early 20th century. It is a male outfit characterized by a high-collared jacket and matching pants. The name “Zhongshan suit” honors Sun Yat-sen, also known as Sun Zhongshan, a significant figure in the Chinese Revolution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are traditional Chinese garments still worn today?

A: While modern clothing has become more prevalent in China, traditional Chinese attire is still worn on special occasions, festivals, and in cultural performances to celebrate the country’s rich history and heritage.

Q: What are the key characteristics of Hanfu?

A: Hanfu typically consists of long robes with wide and loose sleeves, known as “pao.” The attire often includes layers, such as an undergarment known as “yi,” and skirts called “ru.” It is often made of silk or other high-quality fabrics.

Q: How is the Cheongsam/Qipao different from other traditional Chinese attire?

A: The Cheongsam/Qipao is a form-fitting dress that accentuates the female figure. It features a high collar, side slits, and intricate embroidery. In contrast, other traditional Chinese attire, such as Hanfu and Tangzhuang, have looser fits and different silhouettes.

Q: Was the Mao suit widely worn during Mao Zedong’s rule in China?

A: Yes, during Mao Zedong’s rule, the Mao suit was considered a symbol of proletarian style and was popular among both men and women. Its simplicity and functionality appealed to the principles of socialism.

Q: What is the significance of traditional Chinese attire in today’s society?

A: Traditional Chinese attire serves as a symbol of cultural identity and heritage. It helps preserve the country’s traditions and promotes cultural diversity. It is also increasingly embraced by fashion designers who incorporate traditional elements into contemporary designs.