Preview: Outlining the Modern Hanfu

Hanfu? Cosplay?

Hanfu? Cosplay?

Despite the being the largest group on the subject, the Facebook Hanfu: Han Chinese Traditional Clothing and Culture group remains a somewhat uncomfortable place to be: Save for the debates on whether southern Chinese spoken dialects are Chinese at all, or politically-driven propaganda occasionally popping up (Five-colors restoration, Federalism etc.), the problem of addressing Hanfu in dynastic terms (e.g. “Tang Hanfu”, “Song-Ming Hanfu”) and discriminating them against each other based on thiscreate the dilemma of what Hanfu really is, as the “images of various dynasties” collided with each other. The lack of dedication by modern entertainment and mass media only add to this problematic line of thinking, as inaccurate portrayals of past periods’ rituals and even clothing standards themselves create confused images of what people really wore to represent themselves as being Han Chinese throughout the ages.

Memories of a Chinese Geisha?

Memories of a Chinese Geisha?

Failing to grasp the spirit and aesthetic tradition and replacing what is not known with modern Western values, we are left with an imagined realm of the Chinese past: A mysterious, Orientalist domain nothing short of the burlesque are popularly consumed by modern Chinese citizens as a facet of the modern urban-hip, and the ultimate irony of the Far Orient falling into the trap of Orientalism becomes but a fact of the obvious.

Even a browse on the Wikipedia page, we can see this kind of confusion between the understanding of dynastic stereotyping versus the simple existence of a style, in the inconsistencies with a more recently-developed sub-page. Behind the scenes, we are revealed the complete vacuum of study of Hanfu as a continuum of a culture, and how studies (i.e. the erroneous and unsystematic views) in academia are being heavily challenged by the Hanfu Movement, and a violent battle of words result from the remnants of the past with the detailed genealogies of today.
Hence, I will be detailing the classifications of Hanfu in a contemporary context, summarizing the research and debates of the past six years of the Revival Movement as a permanent series of pages, located under the “Hanfu” tab. Asides from expanding on the already-underway Wiki list of Hanfu articles, particular attention wil be paid to headgear, as both English and Chinese sources pay relatively little attention to this aspect. More and newer articles of collaborative research from Chinese sources will be translated to English.
All of the new articles in this series will be located in Hanfu -> (Subpages). Please check back on the Hanfu tab on the top of this blog to begin browsing this project, coming soon!

Yaji Report: Cham Shan Temple, June 20, 2009

TorGuqin Cham Shan Temple Gathering, June 20, 2009.

TorGuqin Cham Shan Temple Gathering, June 20, 2009.

 On the rainy afternoon of Saturday, June 20, 2009, 10 members from TorGuqin gathered outside the main temple hall of Cham Shan Temple for a scheduled homage tour of the various deities and the projects held by the temple to spread Buddhism in Eastern Canada by establishing branches of major temples in China here.

Because of the nature of the sacred site, no pictures were taken. This tour began at 2:15 PM and proceeded until about 3:00 PM.

We later set up our equipment at Prajna Hall behind the main temple and featured a poem by our resident poet, Mr. Chow Yat-shing. We also informally shared some of our new books in private collections, including a copy of Wu Wenguang’s interpreted scores of the entire Shenqi Mipu.Here is the list of performances:

Juni Yeung, Songxia Guantao in Yanlulou Qinpu (1766), on silk strings.

 Michael Keith, Improvisation on a theme of the Temple, on nylon-metal strings

Alex Tsang, Qiusai Yin (also titled Saoshou Wentian or Shuixian Cao). As performed in the style of Wu Shaoji.
Yat-shing Chow, Yangguan Sandie as recorded in Guqin Quji.
Yanyan Zhu, Pu’an Zhou in unique style, based on the Mei’an score.
Alex Ryazanov, Songyu Beiqiu in Xilutang Qintong (1549)
The gathering ended at 5:30 PM, where some members joined for a dinner at Asian Legends Restaurant (Wei-xiang Chuan) afterwards.
Here are some more pictures:
Also a group photo. See who's different?

Also a group photo. See who's different?

Listening. Note that half of the attendees were in Hanfu.

Listening. Note that half of the attendees were in Hanfu.

Dapu’ing Songxia Guantao: A report

The hellish mess that comprises of a musician's nightmares unto daybreak.

The hellish mess that comprises of a musician's nightmares unto daybreak.

*re-released, final complete*

Back in sometime early 2008, Charlie Xu and I were invited by Christopher Evans on the Facebook Guqin group to dapu a “lone version piece” – a guqin melody by  the name of “Under the Pines, Watching the Waves” (Songxia Guantao), which “onlyexists in the manuscript Yanlulou Qinpu, published in 1766.” Albeit nine sections long, Christopher believed it would be an easily manageable and hoped that it would be fully interpreted in half a year and could get underway practicing soon.

How wrong we both were.

My sincere apologies for promising that so quickly. Exactly one year About 368.5 days after the question was asked, the dapu is complete. Most of the time was spent happily (or frustratingly) procrastinating on other things like starting this blog, Mabinogi, homework essays, and relatively futile articles on other topics that nearly made its way into an academic journal, but didn’t on grounds of pathetic office politics and email squabbles.

In the coming sections, I will be giving a full detailed report on the identifying and explaining the process and challenges of dapu, and give a reasoning to my musical interpretation and analysis in this 18th-Century score. For those who just want the score to download and play, it is available for download in five links after you click below.

More

TorGuqin June Gathering @ Cham Shan Temple!

 
 
Cham Shan Temple.

Cham Shan Temple.

Hello TorGuqin members and friends;
 
Our special gathering mentioned last time has been confirmed by the venue! For those who did not receive the last email, my apologies for not having properly delivered to you. Here are the confirmed detailed information:
 
On Saturday, June 20th, 2009, 2~5PM, TorGuqin will be paying a special trip to Cham Shan Buddhist Temple – A quiet and beautiful house of worship and study with a very strong presence of Chinese architecture. We will be received with a guided tour of the place, followed by the regular procedings of a guqin yaji.
 
The Temple is located on 7254 Bayview Avenue, Thornhill, 1 block north of Steeles Ave.
It is TTC-accessible (get off at end stop of 11 Bayview Northbound busroute, transferrable from Davisville, Bayview, and Sheppard-Yonge subway stations).
 
It is common courtesy to the Buddhist establishments to pay homage to the deities once inside (holding incense, prostrate to the figures), and making a donation is highly recommended. Please prepare $2~5 in advance.
 
It is a rare opportunity for us players to gather in such a culturally-Chinese context in Toronto, so please try to make the time to attend this gathering.
Please send an email if you are attending. Also, please be on time to show respect for the Buddhist master who will be guiding us.

A statement on the 1989 June 4 Incident

The Power and History of China has always been in its people.

The Power and History of China has always been in its people.

As a blog of Chinese traditions in the modern context, it becomes unbearably obvious and imperative that the issue of the June 4 incident be addressed. As we enter the  20th year since the failed democratic demonstration movement, and although China has come a long way to what it is today, lest us forget the long and painful process of this development.

The student movement of 1989 had a vision of equality and freedom of expression, with the causus temporalis as to have the government retract a statement on an editorial, printed on the People’s Daily on April 26, 1989 “a small segment of opportunistic people [students]” plot on unrest [rather than commemorating the death of Hu Yaobang], and took to the streets of Beijing. The proactive spirit of university students and their sense of mission is to be honoured, and should be a role model to us all, especially those who are at their early-20s and studying to become the pillars of the nation.

Mistakes and mis-decisions, regardless of who makes it, must bear upon the consequences of its result. The People’s Republic today has undoubtedly adapted to the people much more than had there been no student movement in the late spring, early summer of 1989, and the people have become today less adamant on the forms of state than its effectiveness and solving matters of practicality. However, there is no group more sensitive to the issues of the people than the people themselves, and the “Mandate of Heaven” for any state is to “obey the Heavens and agree with the people”. Lest we the people silence ourselves, and indulge in personal gain over the sight of greater good and natural justice.

Similarly, the Hanfu movement has started under the pretext of a misportrayal of the Han people and its culture. Wang Letian took to the streets in shenyi and zhaoshan to correct this mistake, and many others are now joining the line as vocalized by him in unison to seek justice over this. In fear of accusing the so-called “Han-chauvinism”, some promoters have taken into promoting it simply as a “beautiful clothing from the past/of the Han ethnic tradition” – to this, my personal statement is simply the following: History is the story of human imperfection, trying to seek a greater good nonetheless. If we have a mistake, we should swiftly correct ourselves. We may have doubts, but if one has to distort truth for the sake of consideration of current situations or benefits, then that is not the Natural truth. Correct it, now!

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