5,000 YEARS OF HISTORY
learn about the diverse history of hànfú
WHAT IS HANFU?
Hànfú (汉服/漢服) is the traditional clothing of the Han ethnic group, which now makes up around 92% of China today. With many dynasties and over 5,000 years of history, each era has beautifully diverse fashions. From the ethereal and liberal Tang Dynasty, to the regal and dignified Ming Dynasty, there's a silhouette for everyone.
Which dynasty will you pick?
202 BC – 220 AD
The Han Dynasty was one of the longest reigning dynasties in Chinese history, and is regarded by hanfu enthusiasts as the historical start of hanfu clothing.
Characterized by long cross-collared robes called ShenYi 深衣, and also short top & long skirt combinations called RuQun 襦裙, Han Dynasty clothing is a favorite unisex option for hanfu lovers today.
WEI JIN DYNASTIES
220 A.D. - 420 A.D.
The Wei Jin Dynasties is a collective term to describe the two Han-ruled Chinese dynasties that existed from the early 3rd century AD to the early 5th century AD. It covers the Wei Dynasty (220 - 280) and the
Jin Dynasty (266 - 420).
The clothing during these two eras is often flowy, layered, and ethereal. Clothing during Wei Jin is called GuiYi 袿衣, and also called: ZaJu
ChuiShaoFu 杂裾垂髾服/雜裾垂髾服, which directly translates to "swallow-tailed hems and flying ribbons clothing" due to the shapes of the skirts that imitated birds flying while ladies walked.
NORTHERN SOUTHERN DYNASTIES
420 A.D - 589 A.D.
The Northern and Southern Dynasties is most known for its famous female warrior Hua MuLan 花木兰/花木蘭.
Though it was an age of civil war and political chaos, it was also a time of flourishing arts, culture, as well as advancement in technology.
The hanfu during the Northern & Southern dynasties was heavily inspired by Buddhist teachings and Buddhist murals, called "The Immortals Style". The skirts of the RuQun 襦裙 style outfits began to be tied higher, directly under the breasts. Sleeves became extraordinarily long and the collars of tops also began to sit much more openly, showing more of the circular undergarments called ZhongYi 中衣.
618 A.D. - 907 A.D.
The Tang Dynasty, also known as the Golden Age of China, is also the time period of China's famous first female emperor: Wu ZeTian 武则天/武則天. Women's power and influence soared, with ladies often in professional fields of politics, science, literature, arts, and more.
Not only did makeup experience a creative boom, fashion did as well. The QiXiong RuQun 齐胸襦裙/齊胸襦裙 which is the high empire waist dress, is now seen as the defining feature of all hanfu. The long decorative shawl called PiBo 披帛 is a common accessory and truly creates a goddess-like style.
960 A.D. - 1279 A.D.
The Song Dynasty saw a major increase in technology, science, philosophy, mathematics, and engineering. The Song dynasty was the first in world history to issue true paper money and the first recorded chemical formula of gunpowder; it also saw the first discernment of true north using a compass. During the Song era, Confucianism was reinvigorated, starting the refined and graceful atmosphere of the Song Dynasty.
A typical outfit during the Song consisted of a base layer tank top called MoXiong 抹胸, layered with a long outer jacket called BeiZi 背子, then finished with a long pleated skirt called BaiDieQun 百迭裙. It all combines to create an elegant, lovely, and feminine outfit.
1368 A.D. - 1644 A.D
The Ming Dynasty, a time where China's population would double, is known for its trade expansion and establishing cultural ties with the West. Also remembered for its dramas, literature, and world-renowned porcelain.
Hanfu during the Ming took on a very conservative and regal look with long sleeves, high necklines, and ankle grazing pleated skirts. A common outfit was an Ao 袄/襖
which directly translates to double-lined long sleeved top either with curved or straight sleeves. And paired with the iconic MaMian skirt 马面裙/馬面裙, called "horse face skirt", a long skirt with a large panel on the front and many pleats on the sides. Of course, it has nothing to do with horses! It gets its name from its construction similar to old war forts also called MaMian 马面/馬面.
With its official revival started by Wang LeTian in 2003, the hanfu movement has taken the world by storm. From mainlanders showing their Han Chinese pride, to the dispersion of those overseas seeking to reconnect with their cultural roots- it is no doubt that hanfu is regarded by many as the future of fashion among current generations.
As designers take the liberty to expand historical silhouettes, their tenacity in creativity is creating the ever-so evolving style of HanYuanSu 汉元素/漢元素.
People from around the world can try
HanYuanSu 汉元素/漢元素 as a brand new style!