Fascinating Chinese Cheongsam (Qipao)

Hazel Clark in her article "The Cheongsam" writes, "Worn by movie stars and schoolgirls, adopted as a symbol of Chinese identity and of international savvy, favored by conservative dowagers and fashion mavens, no other dress has been as versatile nor had such a complex, fascinating history as the cheongsam."
The Cheongsam is a female dress with distinctive Chinese features and enjoys a growing popularity in the international world of high fashion. The name "Cheongsam," means simply "long dress," which entered the English vocabulary from the dialect of Southern China-Guangdong Province (Cantonese). In other parts of the China, such as Beijing, however, it is known as "Qipao". The Chinese Cheongsam displays its elegance and longevity with a unique history, vivid design, and feminine style.
First, Chinese history reflects the Cheongsam development. "Cheongsam or Qipao" did not become as well known and popular as the present time until the Manchu people became the rulers of China after the 17th century. Manchu is one of the fifty-six nationalities in China. The Manchurians lived in North-Eastern China, and their lifestyle centered on hunting. For the reason of hunting, the Manchurians dressed in tighter clothes than those people who lived in a steady agricultural society such as the Han people. In the early 17th century, The Manchurians troops entered Beijing and established the Qing Dynasty. The Qing Dynasty built the Eight Banner system for military, political and production purposes to rule the all of China, including the Han, Mongolian, and Manchu people. Therefore, in the Eight Banner system, the Manchu people were also called "Qiren" and their traditional clothes were called "Qipao."
Through the centuries, Qipao has undergone several changes, In the Ming Dynasty (1369-1644), the Qipao took the form of a tight close-fitting style for both men and wom…

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