There are still many who are confused, what are the clothes that we often see in Chinese historical dramas called?
Well, these clothes are often called hanfu.
Hanfu (Chinese: 汉服 ; pinyin: hàn fú) is traditional Han Chinese clothing that has been around for more than 4,000 years.
With the passage and change of dynasties in China, hanfu also changed and developed.
Hanfu is not the same as the Han dynasty clothing, but the Han dynasty clothing belongs to hanfu. The clothing of the Sui, Tang, Song, and Ming dynasties are also referred to as hanfu. Nor does hanfu refer to all Chinese clothing, and ethnic minorities also have their traditional clothing.
To make it easily identified, hanfu can be divided into 3 groups:
1. Historical / ancient hanfu (hanfu by dynasty)
Historical hanfu is a reproduction of the historical style of hanfu worn by the Chinese people before the Qing dynasty. These reproductions are made strictly in the style depicted in ancient paintings, murals, and/or archaeological finds.
2. Improved hanfu
Also known as modern hanfu, new hanfu, and restored hanfu, which refers to hanfu developed based on the historical style of hanfu, and largely retains the ancient style (it can still be classified into the category of historical hanfu which exist, such as ruqun and beizi), but with modern aesthetics and technology introduced into the design.
3. Hanyuansu (Chinese: 汉元素 ; pinyin: hàn yuán sù) or Han element clothing
Hanyuansu refers to modern / everyday clothing with hanfu style features and/or elements in its design, but cannot be classified into the historical / ancient hanfu category.
Han element clothing is inspired by traditional clothing (hanfu), and can be used in fashion, also can be modified and designed to be more comfortable for today’s modern life.
Han element does not have strict shape requirements, the design is freer, the layout requirements are not as high, and the essence is modern fashion. This is also an important difference between the hanyuansu and hanfu.
The relationship between Hanfu, Hanbok, Kimono, and Ao Dai
It’s no illusion that many people can see similarities to hanfu in hanbok, kimono, and ao dai.
During the Joseon dynasty, Joseon was a vassal state of China, and Ming dynasty emperors often presented Joseon kings with clothing.
Korea, Japan, and Vietnam were all presented from clothing given to them by the Ming emperors, who then slowly added their ethnic elements to their clothing, forming their styles of ethnic clothing.
This is also the reason why their costumes are similar to hanfu, especially Ming dynasty hanfu.
But the Chinese-influenced costumes are only part, not all, and they also have something local.
In addition, after a long development, both hanbok, kimono, or ao dai are completely different from hanfu, in terms of detail and shape.
The clothing of each nation is unique and deserves respect.