Rethinking the Hanfu Movement, Feb. ’11 (Causality and Diaspora)

Criticisms of the Heaven Sacrifice in early Feb 2011 in Beijing for resurrecting memories of Manchu tyranny, and relagating them to the epic-scale natural disasters in China, as they both started in 2008.

In response to a comment posted in an earlier “Rethinking the Hanfu Movement” series article, a question raised was, “If the Republic of China (in Taiwan), Hong Kong, Macau, and overseas Chinese are largely unaffected by the destruction of the Cultural Revolution and have maintained the authenticity of Chinese culture, why didn’t the Hanfu Movement start there, but rather the mainland instead?”

A simple online search for this question first leads to a Baidu Zhidao Encyclopedia entry quoting summaries from the discussion in Baidu Hanfu Bar (which was reposted on Tianya):

[Quote] According to popular explanation, Chinese cultural traditions are mainly preserved in Taiwan, Hong kong and overseas Chinese communities, and the mainland is where the tradition is at the thinnest. This is to the degree where Singaporean academics suggested that china should “Import Chinese tradition from overseas”, and people like Du Weiming and others wanting to investigate “after the Cultural Revolution, is there any news of re-emerging traditional culture”.

Yet the most odd thing was, the first people to bring back out Hanfu originated from the mainland, and the most vocal and active Hanfu Movement also is a mainland movement – not one from the “better preserved” regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, or overseas. Why is that?

As we all know, the Manchu Qing used violent acts to force the Han Chinese to adopt new dress, and its effects were not effectively cleansed during the Republican period. Today, in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and overseas, this set of things [ie. Manchu-style dress] have hijacked the position of “traditional costume”. Despite anyone having an interest towards traditional Chinese dress, all he/she can contact is Qipao, Magua, and of the sort (which should be called “counterfeit ethnic costume”).

It is different for the mainland, however, as this concept of Qipao/Magua representation of counterfeit ethnic dress was completely swept out by the “iron broom” of the various movements after the Liberation (especially during the “Destroy the Four Olds” of the Cultural Revolution). This has caused a short blank in the history of Han ethnic costume, to which its historical meaning and effects cannot be underestimated:

  1. Because the Han Chinese no longer have their traditional dress (to its truest meaning, since they lost even the “counterfeit” stuff like Qipao/Magua), its position in relation with its sibling ethnicities [TL: of the 56-ethnic Zhonghua Minzu] and their flamboyant and unique dress becomes an extremely embarassing one. This has in turn become the impetus for people to find their ethnic dress.
  2. Because the “counterfeit ethnic dress” forced by the Manchu Qing also disappeared, it has given us [ie. Hans] a unique opportunity to re-establish a code of ethnic dress. Although in its initial stages, the “counterfeit traditions” lingering in Hong Kong, Taiwan and overseas caused some interference (such as the so-called Tangzhuang as seen in APEC [of 2001]), but since we are no longer living in the Qing, once we have made clear the true forms of Han ethnic clothing, then those “Tangzhuang” and other “counterfeit traditions” will immediately lose their ground, and step back from the stage of history once and for all.

Originally intending to completely decimate traditional Chinese culture, the “anti-tradition” has destroyed instead the “counterfeit tradition” as rewritten by the Manchu Qing period. With the original purpose to destroy all traces of tradition, “Breaking the Four Olds” have become the prerequisite context for the renaissance of Hanfu. History at times is just simply this strange. [Translation Juni Yeung]

 Being a summary of Internet discussions, there are naturally insufficienies and more questions to this explanation. In this article, I shall try to list out a few. If there are any further questions, please feel free to leave a comment in the end. More

Rethinking the Hanfu Movement, November 2010 (Pt.2)

First meeting in Tsim Sha Tsui, October 23.

In continuation to my last article, I would like to bring one more Hong Kong newspaper column from the aftermath of the Chengdu Hanfu burning incident, before discussing some ideas put forward by non-PRC Hanfu promoters in concern over their efforts in their locality. Afterward, I will give an account of my “field work” with a Hanfu advocacy group in Hong Kong, and identify the unique situation and potential solutions with promoting to Chinese raised outside of Communist rule and its education system. To read that section, please click read more below.

First, the other column: Investigator’s Needle: Boxer’s Public [feces] Rage, the Scar of Han Clothing (Kung Jit-Sang 孔捷生, Nov.8 Apple Daily, [square brackets] and bold modifications added by the translator)
 
秋高氣爽,大陸青年的訪日遊和「反日遊」幾乎同步出發,開開心心訪日的是數百名青少年,這是菅直人的回報,廿多年前他是胡耀邦邀請訪華的三千日本青年之一,中方接待的正是共青團書記胡錦濤。至於反日遊則沒那麼風光,出海保釣不行,在家上網保釣也不行,要保也只能保「尖閣列島」。於是鐵血憤青只能去砸同胞的日本車和日貨店,最出彩的義舉便是剝去女同胞的漢服,令該名少女羞憤難抑。
漢服為何物?這正是漢族的尷尬,究深一層也是中華文化的尷尬,因為它宿命般難逃專制主義的摧殘。秦始皇焚書坑儒;漢武帝廢黜百家,獨尊儒術;朱元璋禁絕「民貴君輕」之說,把孟子趕出聖人廟;而今紅朝竄改「韜光養晦」的涵義……都是出於政治需要。衣冠漢儀的失落亦如出一轍,滿清入主中原,下剃髮令和禁穿明朝服飾,都是政治。用今天的話來說是「維護國家統一」。清朝漢員出使朝鮮,見到當地人仍穿明代衣冠,無不涕淚縱橫,畢竟在清朝中國,漢人死後入殮方可穿漢服,故而今日漢服其實就是壽衣變種。
要剝女同胞羅衫的憤青,固然有愛國變態癥,但漢服確實頗似和服,日本和服本來就含唐朝文化諸多元素,不信請觀敦煌壁畫人物造型和衣冠冕旒。九十年代,聶榮臻元帥之將門虎女聶力中將曾力倡奉旗袍為中華女性國服,惜哉旗袍並非漢人衣冠,如今講「民族團結」,漢人把滿人女性旗袍和男性長袍馬褂奉為正朔,也無不可,君不見央視春晚舞台,旗袍和馬褂共舞,盛世與和諧齊飛,惟獨不見漢服的影子。
說來設計國服的先行者首推國父孫中山,其次是前「國母」江青。先說中山裝,作為國服不謂不莊重,可惜考其源頭卻來自日本學生裝。不過昔有孫中山,今有天安門城樓上正襟危立的胡錦濤,反日憤青要剝掉它是無甚指望了。江青的貢獻是改革旗袍,蓋漢族女性的腿和頸脖都比西方人短,比起關外旗人也短一小截,江青獨具創意地把旗袍下襬改為百褶裙,旗袍高領改為 V型杏領,百褶裙成功掩蓋了腿的長短, V型杏領則恰到好處地拉長了漢人的頸脖,看去別具風韻。不幸中國歷史太跌宕,政治太沉重,江青入獄,竟「因人廢服」,這款國服便成絕響。
時下潮流興「國」字號,評定國山、國樹、國花、國獸、國鳥……正不亦樂乎,惟獨國服卻眾說紛紜,難有定論,本來漢服集漢唐盛朝風儀於一身,頗有大國崛起和「中華民族偉大復興」之風範,奈何此番被憤青怒而剝之,宛如文革紅衞兵當街「破四舊」剃陰陽頭,雅哉漢服,只怕永難有出頭之日矣!
With the breezy winds of autumn, the mainland youth’s Japan visiting trip went almost synonymously with the “Anti-Japanese trip [demonstrations]”. The several hundreds of Chinese youth happily visiting Japan are the direct result of Kan Naoto, who was part of the 3,000-some Japanese youth delegation invited by Hu Yaobang 20-some years ago, and the Chinese reception then was the Secretary of the Communist Youth Party, Hu Jintao. As for the Anti-Japanese demonstrations, it was nowhere as glorious – they couldn’t go out to sea to “Baodiao [protect Diaoyutai]”, they couldn’t Baodiao online at home either, and the most they can do is protect a “Senkaku Islands” [TL: a joke referring Liu Xiaobo’s blog article on how he was unable to transmit a message on Chinese forums with the term Diaoyutai, until he changed it to Senkaku Islands, hence mocking the Chinese government as indirectly admitting their sovereignty]. So from there, these hot-blooded Fenqing [TL: “angry youth”] can only go smash their compatriots’ Japanese cars and Japanese stores. The most out-of-line act was to strip away one of their female countryman’s Hanfu, causing her great shame and anger.
What is this Hanfu? This is precisely the embarassment of the Han people, and on a deeper level, also a shame of Zhonghua culture, because its fate could hardly escape the destruction from authoritarianism. Qin Shi Huang’s book burning and scholar killing, Han Wudi establishing Confucianism as the state ideology and dumping the Hundred Schools, Zhu Yuanzhang banning the “common people more important than the Crown” ideology and expelled Mencius from veneration, and now in our Red dynasty corrupting and rewriting the meaning of “Taoguang Yanghui [lit. ‘hiding one’s light and shadow’, or keeping a low profile], referring to Deng Xiaoping’s reference in the early 1990’s on China’s military policy and English interpretators mistranslation as “hide capabilities and bide our time”]…all these are created out of political necessity. In today’s words, “to maintain the unity of the country”. Han Chinese officials in the Qing Empire visiting Korea saw the locals still wearing Ming robes and headgear, and none could hold back their tears. Afterall, in Qing China, only in death can Han people wear Hanfu, and hence today’s Hanfu is actually a variation of joss clothing.
The Fenqing who stripped our female countrymen’s clothes are in no doubt to have a perverted sense of patriotism, but Hanfu does indeed look quite similar to Wafuku [kimono], and the kimono originally contains many elements from Tang Chinese culture. If you don’t believe me, please take a look at the Dunhuang Mural Paintings and the clothing on the characters. In the 1990’s, the daughter of Gen. Nie Rongqin, Nie Lizhong, advocated the Qipao as the female national dress of China. Regretfully, the Qipao is not of Han Chinese sartorial tradition, but since we talk of “ethnic unity”, to have Han Chinese establish Manchurian Qipao, Cheongsam and Magua as the official national clothing is not out of the question. Can’t you see that on CCTV’s New Year Evening Gala, Qipao and Magua dance all over the screen, flying everywhere with the Golden Age [shengshi] and Harmony [hexie]. The only thing that’s missing – there’s not a trace of Hanfu to be found.
Coming to talk of it, the first to design a “national clothing” is our Guofu [Father of the Nation] – Dr. Sun Yat-sen, followed by former “Guomu [Nation mother]” Jiang Qing. Let’s talk about the Zhongshan Jacket, it is certainly stately, but its origins are from the Japanese students’ outfit [TL: See ‘Gakuran’]. But then, we have had Dr. Sun defending it in the past, and now we have Hu Jintao, stiffly clad on top of Tian’anmen tower – if the Anti-Japanese Fenqing wanted to strip that off, they’re out of luck. Jiang Qing’s contribution was to revolutionize the Qipao. As generally Han females have shorter necks and legs than Westerners or even Manchus outside of the Great Wall, Jiang Qing with her unique creativity changed the lower part of the Qipao into a pleated dress, while changing the tall collar into a V-neck, successfully hiding away the lack of length on the legs, and the V-shaped open neck elongated the lack of a neck feature, creating a different kind of refined air. Unfortunately, Chinese history was much too tumultuous then, and the politics was too heavy. Jiang Qing was imprisoned, and unbelievably the design was “scrapped like the person”, and this sort of national dress became no more.
Nowadays, everything with the term “national” is in vogue – determining the national mountain, national tree, national flower, national animal, bird…just when things were getting exciting, everyone seemed to have their own idea when it comes to national dress, with little room for concensus. Originally, Hanfu combined the ritual and elegance of Han and Tang brilliance, and certainly has the style fitting of a “Zhonghua Minzu‘s Great Renaissance”, but unexpectedly these clothes have been ripped right off the body by raging Fenqing, just like the Red Guards in the Cultural Revolution “Destroying the Four Olds” and shaving the Yin-Yang queue hairdo. Oh elegant Han clothing, I’m afraid that you’ll never have a chance to show yourself again! (Apple Daily, Nov. 8, 2010)
This kind of editorial and standpoint is typical of many found in both Hong Kong and mainland press. From the bolded highlights seen here, are points that Hanists, Hanfu advocates, and anyone who strongly identify as Han (that being at least 90% of China) would find objecting or even repulsive. While “compassionately” lamenting for the disappearance of Hanfu, the author takes no prisoners in bashing the entirety of Chinese history as a dark one, one of great oppression from the “evils of autocracy”. His examples of Qin, Han, and Ming ‘absolutist oppression’ had nothing to do with Hanfu, and even went as far as to mislead people (and infuriate Hanfu advocates to the memory) of it as joss [funeral] clothing, which had been the casus belli to a full litigation in the Zhengzhou Provincial Court in early-mid 2006.
The following sections are no less forgiving – perhaps Kung is writing sarcastically, but many in China do truly believe the concept of Zhonghua Minzu (Chinese ethnicities) – a Soviet model that the 56 ethnicities found in the borders of the People’s Republic and their cultural-historic heritage are all to be considered “Chinese” – and find no problem in taking Manchu clothing to represent all of Chinese people (especially when the Han majority has been wearing “the same clothes”, or close approximations of them, for over the past three centuries). However, Hanists and any educated person in the West will see this as a fundamental fallacy in historiography, and a great disrespect to both Han and Manchu tradition to not differentiate them.
In the third supporting paragraph, Kung insults all Han Chinese women, if not all men as well, on the features of Han genetics. This paragraph needs no more explanation, as the tone is clearly set to belittle the Han majority as an inferior race. Unless Kung is not Han (to which I suspect more hot-headed Hanists will be ready to accuse him as a Manchu), he has not spared himself from this. To put down one’s own race and genetics in this unhealthy manner is only heard of in extreme times (such as Japan and Korea ages in its “reflection” ages during Westernization and after the Second World War), and is none other than blatant, irrational racism (despite it being self-oriented).
As in the last article I have translated by Lee Bik-Wah, Kung here considers Hanfu to be the clothing from the “Han and Tang brilliant” eras, but is still relagated either as “dynastic” period dress, or simply as obsolete, ancient clothing – a common fallacy.
To put this together, this article with its mix of factual truths with fallacious and wild opinions on the inferiority of (Han) Chinese would be considered no less as “ideological poison” by pro-Han or the pro-individualistic ideals person. When both mainstream paper and digital media are filled with this kind of “data” for the common consumer, it is not difficult to understand why Hanfu advocates have such a difficult time convincing fellow Chinese people to wear the clothes and be proud of their identity and heritage.
Now onto my field report.

Rethinking the Hanfu Movement, November 2010 (Pt.1)

The burning of the Hanfu skirt on Chongyang Day, 2010 in Chengdu.

Please pardon the recent lack of updates. Aside from attending to family affairs in a visit back to Hong Kong last month, I admit I have recently become engrossed in yet another online game (even scholars…especially scholars, procrastinate). I will try to give a few recent anecdotes personal and in the greater Hanfu circle. 

Without a doubt, the largest Hanfu related piece of news (and news in the time of our mass media usually is negative) is the Chongyang Day (Oct 16 2010) Chengdu Hanfu Burning Incident. It has been over a month since the affair, and as I watched the aftermath unfold (and the several people taking the lead in the actual burning were arrested for public disorder), it is perhaps time to write a summary on my and general society’s reflection of the giant rift of Chinese society – it is not just about political standpoints, education and income levels, age, gender and orientation, or any previously known one description or strata, but as individuals which comprise of any combination of such. 

Before carrying on to the reviews, let us revise the happenings of October 16, 2010: 

A Chengdu girl (alias Sun Ting) who was newly introduced to Hanfu from a friend tried on a borrowed set of short Quju top and skirt, and went out to the movies in town on the afternoon of the 16th, only to find the place much too crowded. They changed plans dine at a Dico’s restaurant nearby on Chunxi Road, to which they sat by the taller tables and stools by the second floor shopfront window. At that time, a wave of “patriotic” protesters passed by, encouraging fellow citizens to boycott Japanese goods and the government to enforce sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands (known as Senkaku Islands to the Japanese). A group of “university students” (later identified as a group of unemployed late-teens not affiliated in any tertiary institutions) noticed the crossed-collars of her clothing, unsure of its cultural background. People suggested going into the shop and checking her back to see if there was “a pillow” on it (the primary feature of the obi waistsash on a Japanese furisode), but rumours escalated quickly and spun out of control, and the message soon directed towards the violent end. 

The crowd surrounded the shop’s exits, demanded that she strip her “kimono” away to satisfy the public. Sun, despite being a newcomer to Hanfu, tried her best to explain that this was Chinese clothing, not Japanese. However, the protesters were unreceptive to reason, and forced her to surrender her top, which was taken away. Sun complied, but soon she was asked to also surrender her matching skirt. Having no other clothes underneath save undergarments and a T-shirt, she hid away in the Women’s washroom afterwards, as the crowd set fire to the skirt right outside the shop, under the witness of tens of cameras and cellphone captures. A man who bought a pair of jeans for his girlfriend graciously gave Sun his purchased goods, allowing Sun to leave with the least bit of humanly dignity. 

Netizens (including Hanfu group members) devoted themselves to searching up the perpetrators to the crime, refusing to believe they were really “university students” (although considerable bashing was given to the overall general quality of them), and later labelled them as “general ignorant thugs”, “remenants of Manchurian poison”, and even “intentional undercover Manchu separatists, trying to take advantage of ignorant patriotism direct against the Hanist movement”. Shortly after the incident, the Hong Kong Hanfu group set up on the Chinese version of Wikipedia a complete article on the incident, and within two weeks it became an international laughingstock on both official channels of news media to the most informal and bawdy parts of the blogosphere

Since I was in Hong Kong at the time of the happening of this incident, let’s take a look at some of the responses from there. Just as I was having trouble with my formal paper on the Hanfu movement and actual events displaying the stigma against it, this event has “artfully and timely” appeared in its most bare, despicable form. I cannot help but muse at the irony of the matter, and can conclude with the axiom “be careful of what you wish for”. 

First they mock you, then they fight you, then they accept the truth as self-evident.
-Mahatma Gandhi More

Notice of event detail & time change for Sept.24 Ceremony

VERSION 1, ENGLISH.

To all who those who are interested on the September 24th Coming-of-Age Ceremony;

 

Thank you for your continued attention on this event.
We regretfully inform that due to financial and venue difficulties, the original intended plan for a full Guan-Li (Chinese coming-of-age ceremony), followed by a She-li (Archery ceremony) on the 24th of September at 2 to 4 PM is rescheduled.

The new time and location is now integrated with CSSAUO’s evening variety event on the same day (Sept.24, 2009) at 7PM, in Ryerson Theatre. Tickets to this event are priced at $10, purchasable from http://1ticket.ca/html/onshow/2009/0831/31.html.

To this end, we also regret to inform that due to timing constraints, we are only able to retain one Jia (adding headpieces, changing clothes) sequence from the originally intended three Jia. The Archery Ceremony is also forced to cancel due to the new venue’s technical restriction. However, this does not detract the upcoming ritual from its sacred properties, and is just as legitimate and authentic. Our participants are just as committed as before.

Our hope in this cooperation is to bring to the Toronto community-at-large the authentic spirit and face of traditional Chinese ritual, music and culture. This setback is by no means dented our determination to strive for this end. It is our intention that in the foreseeable future, we will again organize a similar event. If any individuals or organizations are interested in learning or interviewing about or actualizing traditional Chinese ritual and arts, please do not hesitate to contact the Toronto Guqin Society (TorGuqin) for consultation or partnership.

 

With a deep bow in sincere apologies,

Joshua Yushuai Cai, CUAUT (www.cuaut.org)
Juni Lefeuille Yeung, TorGuqin (https://torguqin.wordpress.com)

 

VERSION 1, CHINESE

致所有關注九月二十四日華夏傳統成人禮的人仕﹔

很感謝您們長久對這個節目的關注。
很遺憾地﹐我們因財政及場地等種種困難﹐原定在二零零九年九月二十四日下午二時到四時的三加冠笄禮(傳統華夏成人禮) 及射禮(傳統射箭項目) 將會受到時間變動。

新的時間安排是同一天的晚上﹐於安省中國學生學者聯誼會聯盟(CSSAUO) 的『中國風﹐海外情』晚會﹐即二零零九年九月二十四日晚上七時﹐於懷雅遜大學劇院(Ryerson Theatre) 中舉行。該晚會門票可在網上購得﹐地址為﹕http://1ticket.ca/html/onshow/2009/0831/31.html﹐價錢為十元。

於此﹐我們亦因為此更動後附上的時間限制﹐原定的三加(即換戴三套衣服及頭飾) 簡短為一加﹐射禮亦室內場地技術困難而被迫取消。但是﹐這並不代表儀式的神聖及莊重性質有任何的減省。我們的參禮者一直保持著對该节目的重視及熱誠。

我們兩個協會合作的宗旨是為了帶給多倫多廣大社區純正的華夏禮樂文化傳統。這次的挫折並沒有損耗我們履行這個宗旨的決心。我們打算在不遠將來再次籌辦一個類似的項目﹐若社區各界人士或組織有興趣學習﹐或專訪關於華夏傳統禮儀及藝術﹐請與多倫多古琴社提出咨詢或合作建議。

 

於此深切稽首致歉﹗

蔡寓帥Joshua Cai,  多倫多大學中國大學生聯合會 (www.cuaut.org)
楊儁立Juni Yeung , 多倫多古琴社 (https://torguqin.wordpress.com)

Chinese Coming-of-Age Ceremony and Archery Ceremony, Sept. 24, 2009

2006112522421411904The Toronto Guqin Society (TQS) and University of Toronto Chinese Undergraduate Association(CUAUT) will be performing a traditional Chinese coming-of-age ceremony, followed by a Chinese Archery ceremony. This is a part of a larger series of cultural events organized by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association of Ontario United(CSSAUO), in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

The ceremonies will take place on September 24, 2009, from 2-4PM, in the Quadrangle (open grass area) of Ryerson University (41 Gerrard St. E.).  General admittance to the traditional ceremonies in the afternoon is free of charge. Tickets to the evening venue are priced at $10, and are purchasable from www.1ticket.ca

TQS has painstakingly researched the details of the ritual and has successfully recovered and restored the previously thought lost music score from the Book of Odes, and will be integrating four sections with the ceremony, performed by members of TQS and the Toronto Chinese Symphony. Be sure to come witness this rare glimpse of traditional Chinese ritual and court music!

                Traditionally, males at age 20 and females at age 15 undergo the coming-of-age, and the rituals are called Guan-li冠禮 and Ji-li笄禮respectively. Participants undergo three changes of traditional clothing and headwear to represent the process of maturity, legal empowerment, and burdening of social responsibility. Finally, the mentor figure gives every participant a unique zi 字, or courtesy name, to be used by others referring to the new adults as an honorific.

                The She-li射禮, or Archery ritual, was used in pre-Confucian China as a method of leader selection. Confucian revisionism gave this ritual additional meaning of demonstrating proper ritual, manners, music, social order, and using a weapon for peace and education.

                These rituals were lost in practice due to Manchurian imposing bans and censors on Han Chinese clothing and traditional culture during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), as well as Imperialism and Westernization since the 1850’s. Since 2003, an Internet movement beginning in China called on everyone to rediscover the lost Han Chinese culture and promote its value to global multiculturalism, debunking past stereotypes and taking pride in the Chinese heritage.

                 This event is officially supported by CSSAUO, TQS, and the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto. The evening show is officially sponsored by CIBC, China Unionpay, and Scotiabank.

Related Downloads:

An introduction to Traditional Han Chinese Clothing 
Ritual Itinerary
A detailed account of the Guan-li (Coming-of-age ceremony)
A detailed account of the She-li (Archery ceremony)

2 Essays from Minghua Tang Blog

2009040102110638661786377In this post are the translations of two essays, titled:

“The Particular Nature of “National clothing” in China, and its Relations with the Han Chinese” (国服在中国的特殊表现,及其与汉族的关系), and:
“The Formation Period of Han Chinese Ethnic Clothing, and the Archaeological Barriers to Clothing in Historical Dramas” (汉族民族服饰的形成期 与 历史剧服饰的考古屏障)

Both by Zhong Yi, Founder and President of Ming Hua Tang Clothing, a subdivision of Eurasia (H.K) Ltd.

Editor’s note: As one of the leading researchers and makers of authentic Hanfu, Mr. Zhong’s take on the rise of the Hanfu movement and redefining “Chinese” culture is clear-minded, as he takes a cold, clean separation from “Han=China” which has dominated the stream of academic thought to this day. His perspective brings out the question of redefining the scope of “Chinese” studies and the cultural domain and rights of the people.

More

Some thoughts on the recent Hanfu uniform proposal

hanfuuniformblogRecently, major news sites such as Chinanews and Guangzhou Daily has been circulating a set of illustrations to propose a modernized version of Hanfu for use as high school uniforms, and is the first seriously accepted design for Hanfu in our time.
Previous to the release of this design, other “modernizing innovations” ranged from shortening the length of the shang skirt, to adding zippers and lace in its designs. Most Hanfu supporters strongly rejected the idea, citing that “Hanfu has not yet been popularized, and it would be unwise to Westernize it before the convention is stable.”
Their doubt and hesitance to quickly adapting existant elements has no doubt paid off, in the sense of confirming a public sense of what Hanfu is, differentiating itself from Korean and Japanese clothing of similar appearance.
In this article, I will focus on the criticism of this rumoured proposal for a Hanfu-inspired school uniform. More

Some thoughts regarding Deep-level Commercialization in Hanfu Photography

By: Youxia Nalan 游侠纳兰
Original posting on Hanminzu.com, http://www.hanminzu.com/bbs/dispbbs.asp?boardID=101&ID=245688&page=1 on Feb. 27, 2009.

The concept of “Hanfu photography” probably was developed since the beginning. At the moment, cities along Suzhou and Jiejiang have already established their own professional Hanfu photography shops or studios.
But, regretfully, as a professional photographer and amateur of Hanfu, I find that most Hanfu photos are, ultimately, falling into two modes:

1. Lin Daiyu style, and
2. Pan Jinlian style.

It’s like as if when one speak of Chinese-style photography is equivalent to some girl wearing a little dudou underwear and whoring on the streets – this is not Hanfu photography, this is a prostitute in a brothel. Or, people understand it as if one must dress up like Lin Daiyu and stand there lamenting or smiling like a fool. (Please, this is not a pirated version of A Dream of the Red Chamber. If that’s the case I’d rather watch Master Gungun’s performances)

Hanfu should not be like this, it should be a style of dress which possesses an Oriental essence.

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Rethinking the Hanfu Movement, Nov. 08 (Pt.2 Organization & Politics)

First, my apologies for the late coming of this article, in light of rushed midterms and reorganization of information from a bad case of writer’s block/laziness.

In this post, I will attempt to explain in more detail over previous comments and questions made in this blog over the organization of the Restoration Movement. Since there were questions posed in previous comments, I will answer them in Q&A format first.

I will admit that as a lutenist (guqinist, if I may) I am definitely no professional critic of national policies or commentator of world politics. However, over the entire month (4 weeks) of preparing this article and its various revisions I am hopeful that other ethnic Chinese and fellow members of our global village understand that the baseline of understanding an ethnicity is its unseparable and untarnishable heritage, cultural or genetic.

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Rethinking the Hanfu Movement, Oct. ’08 (Pt.1: Temporality)

Ming-standard wedding in Beijing, Oct 4, 2008.

Ming-standard wedding in Beijing, Oct 4, 2008.

Continuing onto some thoughts on conflicts and infighting of some issues in the Hanfu Restoration Movement as part of the Huaxia Renaissance movement, namely onto major ongoing criticisms and unresolved concept standpoints. The purpose of the Hanfu Movement is to ‘restore the impression of Han Chinese clothing (to the Chinese) to the Han Chinese tradition, in response to correcting the mis-impression of tight-formed Qipao and button-up tunics (which we call Tangzhuang today) as representation of all Chinese tradition, which should not be perceived as dead’. It may seem redundant or blindingly obvious to those who are aware , after 3 years of dedicated promotional work. However, the government still does not give any official response to the movement, nor have they responded positively by adopting Hanfu as the representational image of the Han Chinese people, but rather reinforce the Party policy of ethnic diversity, and support ‘traditional’ movements abiding by the Qing standard. While it may sound perfectly fine, the support from the Chinese government to ensure the cultural propriety of the Han Chinese is marginal at best.

I digress.

The year prior to the Olympic Games marked the golden era of actual results in Hanfu awareness promotion. Many shops were getting a significant foothold as sustainable enterprises, and the Hundred Scholars petition made headline news. However, if one look back on the ‘history’ then, as well as today, there are many voices of disagreement within the movement that remain largely unresolved and un-unified. While it will be impossible to list them all, I will try my best to list as many as possible..

***

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A Brief of Actual Results from Chinese Culture Renaissance Mvt.: Major Events (2001-08)

Wang Letian, the one who Started it all

Wang Letian, the one who "Started it all"

When speaking of the Hanfu movement, the Internet and Hanminzu.com (then Haanen.net) work hand-in-hand. Back in 2002 its few members dedicated to the revival of Han Chinese studies and tradition, some suggested that the then-recent APEC conference (2001) has seriously blundered the Chinese tradition by “putting back on the braids of racial enslavement” in wearing Manchu-inspired clothing. After half a year of discussion, a person by the net name of Zhuangzhi Lingyun (壯志凌雲) decided to do what many only dream of – wear these so-called ancient clothing (古裝) that can only be seen on television dramas, opera stages, and in texts before the Qing. After he got his set of clothes by a tailor in Shanghai, he took it out and wore it for a stroll in his city of Zhengzhou. There was no immediate rave or the world noticing, until Lianhe Zaobao (Singapore) put the picture (left) with caption and a small article that the effect began to spread to Chinese communities throughout the world, gathering people to the site, and eventually beginning gatherings and walks that what we know as the “Hanfu Movement” became an actuality.

Let’s take a look now at a brief chronology of major events in the movement, as well challenges posed along the way. More

A Brief of Actual Results from Chinese Culture Renaissance Mvt.: Established Businesses

Beijing New Year's Guqin Yaji 2005 - Hanfu Movement on the rise.
Beijing New Year’s Guqin Yaji 2005 – Hanfu Movement was on the rise.

The Hanfu Movement was not without its origins or causes. Tracing back to the 1990’s was a re-focusing of Confucian studies among Chinese scholars, followed by the de facto cause that was the debut of “Tangzhuang” in the 2001 APEC Conference and Wang Letian’s 2003 walk. Ever since 2005, there was a significant commercial move that began to support the Hanfu movement from the market perspective. After all, it is impossible to support a material culture in a market-economy society without making the Thing in question a commodity. Only then, can we have basis for proving the ideas we support by showing material evidence.

 Let’s take a look at what businesses or attempts have been made over the past 3 years.

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