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.
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.