History of Hanfu

In a Chinese myth, it was Leizu, the concubine of China’s first emperor Huangdi, that invented Hanfu. Leizu mastered sericiculture and used silk to make clothes. In this way Hanfu was produced. About 5,000 years ago in New Stone Age, people began to enjoy a comparatively peaceful life and the primordial agriculture and textile industry came into being. They used flax to make clothes. Later on silkworm rearing and silk spinning were mastered and they made full sets of clothing. Hanfu was produced.


Hanfu, also known as Hanzhuang or Huafu, refers to the traditional dress of Han Chinese people before Qing dynasty. The term Hanfu derives from the Book of Han, which says, ”then he(Qu Li) came to the Court many times to pay homage and was delighted at the clothing style of the Han. ” Here Han refers to Han Dynasty, but as a matter of fact Hanfu includes not only clothing in Han Dynasty but also in Shang, Zhou, Tang, Song and Ming.

The beauty of Hanfu lies not only in its appearance but also in that it plays a significant role in Chinese proprieties. In ancient China, garments are used as decoration as well as a symbol of position and situation. Namely, the officials wear differently when they are on the Court and when they are at home; scholar-bureaucrats wear differently with common people; clothing on different rituals such as fetes or rituals diversify; even at different ages people wear different clothing. A man old can start wearing fur coat and silk only after he is above 20 years.

Weather Wane

Currently,there is a Hanfu Movement in China. It may have begun around 2003 when a man called Wang Letian from Zhengzhou, China, wore Hanfu in public. Hanfu revivalists believe that Han Chinese clothing should revive in daily life and especially in Chinese festivals or celebrations.

Hanfu refers to the traditional clothing of the Hans before the end of Ming dynasty. The garments of Qing dynasty is not included in Hanfu, because they come from Manchu dressing. Although Chinese man also wear them, they do not belong to Hanfu. Besides, popular Tang Suit, cheongsam and Chinese jacket are not traditional Chinese clothing therefore they cannot be called Hanfu. They are adapted from Manchu clothing.

Culture in Hanfu

Obviously to ancient Chinese, garments are not only something to cover the body with, but also the embodiment of civilization. Clothing has evolved to be an essential part of the etiquette system. Therefore it is concernful for us to know what a set of Hanfu include and how to dress Hanfu.
Hanfu is characterized by a crossing collar, right lapel and a waistband. It gives people the impression of freedom and easiness.A complete Hanfu garment is assembled from several pieces of clothing into an attire:

Yi (衣): Any open cross-collar garment, and worn by both sexes
Pao (袍): Any closed full-body garment, worn only by men in Hanfu
Ru (襦): Open cross-collar shirt
Shan (衫): Open cross-collar shirt or jacket that is worn over the yi
Qun (裙) or chang (裳): Skirt for women and men Ku (裤): Trousers or pants

There are two parts overlapping on the front. This is called “Jiao Ling” (Crossing Collar), which is a main feature of nearly all Asian costumes. The order of the two parts is quite important. From the wearer’s point of view, the crossing is always on his/her right side, which is called “You Ren” (Right Front). Therefore an easy way to recognize Hanfu is that its collar forms a “y” shape if you look at the dress from the front.
Hanfu usually has a waistband, on which various little decorations are hung, including Yu (jade) and Chinese knots. These hung decorations, together with the long ribbons and relatively wide sleeves, can sway as one walks. Its idea is to cover up any imperfections and to accentuate the bodily beauty of an East Asian woman.

Beauties in Hanfu

Hanfu and Shooting Ceremony