Foundational Text: The Three New Meanings of Hanfu

American students paying homage to Confucius at Zhengzhou

American students paying homage to Confucius at Zhengzhou


Prepared as a speech delivered to a Hanfu enthusiast meeting in Beijing in early October 2009, a Confucian scholar by the net name Qilufeng 齐鲁风 posted this after his debut with revisions, and provides key overview on the current stage of the Hanfu revival movement by differentiating the mainstream views from 2006~2008 with the present day. This essay marks a new stage of maturity in ideological and practical development for the movement, and a convergence and agreement from previous disputes from within the circle, and bears historical significance.

Translated Document

The Kingly Way is Wide and Straight, Without Partiality and Favouritism:
The Three New Meanings of Hanfu

By: Qi Lu Feng (netname)                  Translated by: Juni Yeung

Using clothes to carry the Way (Dao), a unified Interior and Exterior

The rise of Hanfu was not under a context of a disciplined direction, but rather coupled with the revival of ethnic and tradition awareness, the rebuilding of traditional faiths and many other elements to form a social movement. Hence, from since its founding, it is coupled with issues from the expounding of this line of ideology. The several centuries of decline in Chinese civilization led to Hanfu restorers in their understanding of the object, as well as the thinking behind the actualization of the restoration to be far from the actual Huaxia tradition, and far from reaching the level of our ancestral sages who created ritual and music based on the Way of Heaven, Earth, and Man. Nor would we today have the traditional understanding of these sagely Ways as the Shi literati class would. Hanfu inherently does not possess the master-disciple relationship like guqin and many civilian traditional talents and arts. Therefore, early proponents of Hanfu have assumed the role of groundbreakers. Under this situation, the explicating and constructing of ideology for Hanfu in actuality is a process of searching the Way (Dao) to and for the Huaxia tradition. The restoration of Hanfu requires a long period of development, and what it lacks is a supporting system – academic discipline.


A Sacrificial Ritual with One Person 《一個人的祭禮》

This was a foundational text for the rise of the Hanfu movement. First posted on Hanwang on November 15th, 2004, Tianya Zai Xiaolou (netname), a journalist from Tianjin, has created massive support from readers all over the world, and this text remains the most quoted and reposted Hanfu essay to date. Its effect in inspiring people to become aware of Han-Manchu history and cultural differences has a historically significant effect.



A Sacrificial Ritual with One Person
By: Tianya zai Xiaolou
Translated by: Juni Yeung

Many years later, I think I will still remember this day, remembering the heavenly sounds of Shao elegant court music, remembering the chanting voices of young children reciting the Confucian Analects, remembering the solemn sacrificial speech in the chilling wind, and remembering the grand performance. But today, under the sun, among the sea of people, although prosperous colours dazzle the eye, and noisy din fills the ears, I still hold a lonely heart, to attend that occasion – a Sacrificial Ritual with only one person.


The Shenyi for Dummies: A design with no absolute measurements!

The completed clothes should look like this!

EDIT: Here is the completed thing!

Revised diagram.

Revised diagram.

For someone with next to zero tailoring skills (such as myself), here is the simplest explanation as to how a proper Shenyi, the “white-tie” for the civilian adult male, is made.

The Ruqun, which is the standard dress for women that can be formal or casual (depending on sleeve size), is more or less the same, with exception to detaching the top from the bottom, and adding a separate skirt head. The Ruqun’s technicalities is beyond the scope of this post, for now.

With this diagram, one can fabricate a Shenyi by acquiring some black and white fabric. At 120cm broadcloth, one would require about 5m of material (on the safe side). Dark blue or green can replace the black, but black is still recommended.

NOTE: Sashes for tying up the clothes itself for wearing is not included in these diagrams. These are assumed knowledge for the Hanfu tailor, and sashes should be sewn on all Hanfu in four places:

  1. The inside of the left armpit, and is tied with 3 when worn.
  2. The upper edge of the end of the left collar, which is tied with 4 when worn.
  3. The upper edge of the end of the right collar, which is tied with 1 when worn.
  4. The outside of the right armpit, and is tied with 2 when worn.

In the details of this post, I will summarize the recent discussions and findings of the Hanfu Movement in regards to necessity of cutting seams, fabric widths, and the shape of the skirt. Please read on.


A Hanfu short comic (APH Hetalia Doujinshi)

d4d76c26048d942f908f9d2bPardon my recent lack of posting. The pressure from the September event has still not yet fully subsided. However, expect me to start writing again soon. At the meanwhile, there are MANY new quality essays being released by pioneering minds on redefining our understanding of Hanfu, so please stick around for translations!

At the meanwhile, here is a doujinshi (fan-made comic based on an existing comic franchise) of APH’s Hetalia  by a Chinese artist Huamengluo (also known as “miashar” on Baidu).

Titled “to耀君——最特别的礼物” (To Yao-kun — A Most Special Present), it is a 11-page short on Wang Yao (the Hetalia character representing China) receiving a package with a set of Hanfu inside, which brings back a whole series of (unpleasant) memories. However, at the bottom of each Pandora’s box, always lies hope.


Character design from miashar's 《君思故乡明》

Character design from miashar's 《君思故乡明》

The author has also expressed to create an original comic featuring the Hanfu movement. Character designs are already underway, and we hope to see its premiere in the short future.

October and November 2009 Gathering Dates

Our next two gatherings’ dates have been set! They are:
Saturday, October 24, 2009, 1-3PM, and
Saturday, November 21, 2009, 1-3PM.
Both gatherings will be located at Room C (4th Floor) @ Fairview Library, beside Fairview Mall, on:
35 Fairview Mall Dr.
Toronto, ON M2J 4S4
(416) 395-5750
It is a simple walk across the parking lot from the Don Mills TTC station. The location is very convenient.
You are welcome to invite friends to attend the gathering. Come dressed in Hanfu if you can, too!
We are charging $5 to cover the room booking fees.
During the October meeting, we will also spend some time on discussing the forming of an executive for the Society, in order to organize further and larger scale events toward the community.


October 2009