Sleeves in hanfu, also known as Mei (Chinese: 袂 ; pinyin: mèi), are various and unique in shape.
From different dynasties, various kinds of sleeves were developed, and each has its characteristics.
So, what’s different about the sleeves in hanfu?
Types of hanfu sleeves in general:
Straight Sleeve – Zhi Xiu (直袖 ; zhí xiù)
The straight sleeve can be divided into a narrow straight type and a wide straight type.
Pipa Sleeve – Pipa Xiu (琵琶袖 ; pí pá xiù)
Pipa sleeves are a type of sleeve often seen in Ming dynasty hanfu.
Not only that but pipa sleeves are also used on shenyi (quju) and other garments.
Named the pipa sleeve because the arm has a wide part, a small cuff, and a narrow armpit, shaped like a pipa.
Large Sleeve (大袖 ; dà xiù) / Wide Sleeve (广袖 ; guǎng xiù)
Large sleeves / wide sleeves are common on Daxiushan, Mianfu (冕服), and others.
Chuihu Sleeve (垂胡袖 ; chuí hú xiù)
Chuihu sleeves are similar to large sleeves, but chuihu sleeves have narrower cuffs.
This sleeve style is very characteristic of Han dynasty clothing.
Narrow Sleeve (窄袖 ; zhǎi xiù) / Arrow Sleeve (箭袖 ; jiàn xiù)
These sleeves come from northern ethnic costumes.
Most of the northern ethnic costumes are arrow sleeves, and these sleeves are also often used in cold regions.
The narrow sleeve / arrow sleeve is comfortable to ride, shoot and work.
In addition, because the cuffs are narrow, they can keep warm.
Therefore, after thousands of years, from military uniforms, and official uniforms to common people’s clothes, the narrow sleeve / arrow sleeve became widespread and became a kind of hanfu sleeve system.
Half Sleeve (半袖 ; bàn xiù) / Short Sleeve (短袖 ; duǎn xiù)
An example of a hanfu with half sleeves is Banbi (半臂).