Sunday, 30 January 2011

Object Analysis Essay Proposal.

Han Chinese clothing.

I recently visited the V&A’s exhibition of Imperial Chinese Robes worn during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and was struck by their elaborate detail and craftsmanship. The imperial dress, worn only by nobility and state officials of the highest rank was extremely regulated with 5 categories of formal wear and incredible importance placed upon traditional motifs and choice of colour. The exhibition made me curious to discover whether the dress of ordinary Chinese people at this time was equally as ornate and ordered. During my research I learnt about Han Chinese clothing or Hanfu, a historical ethnic dress worn the millennia before the Qing Dynasty was established. With a history of over 3000 years, the dress played a significant role in Chinese ceremony and ritual until its abolishment by the semi-nomadic Manchus in 1644. The Hanfu was highly influential in informing the traditional dress of neighbouring Asian countries such as the Japanese Kimono. Today, it is only worn for historical re-enactments and certain festivals or ceremonies and therefore is largely unknown. Despite this, there has been recent interest in its revival in everyday life. I am eager to discover the future of the Hanfu and whether its style has impacted modern day Chinese fashion.

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