Category: ask

Hello! Is it okay to wear a Cheongsam if you&r…

Hello! Is it okay to wear a Cheongsam if you’re not Chinese? If so when? If not I’ll drop the idea. It may sound silly but I recreate photos of bratz dolls (as makeup and clothing) and I found one of a doll wearing a Cheongsam and I really liked it but I want to be respectful. I thought maybe leaving it for New Years as it is a festive time but idk since Chinese New Years is on February. In no way I’m trying to make fun of the Chinese culture that’s why I wanted to ask someone who is Chinese

Hi, thanks for the question!

As I explained in my reply here to a similar question about hanfu, I personally have no issue with people who aren’t Chinese wearing traditional Chinese clothing, including cheongsam/qipao, if it’s done respectfully. By respectfully, I mean having respectful intent, being aware of the background and cultural context of the clothing, and making an effort to wear the clothing accurately. 

Based on what you’ve told me about your situation, I think it would be fine for you to wear a cheongsam for your recreation photoshoot. It doesn’t necessarily have to be during a festive time, since cheongsam can be worn casually or formally. The only concern for me is that Bratz dolls tend to have exaggerated styling, so I’d be mindful of the hair, makeup, and posing, so as not to come off as a caricature. The following are examples of common mistakes to avoid:

1) Strange makeup and hairstyles (X): White face makeup has been used throughout Chinese history, and is still used today in some cultural contexts (ex: Chinese opera), but it has never been associated with cheongsam. In addition, chopsticks are not used as hair ornaments. Furthermore, even if the lady in the picture below is wearing actual hairsticks, their positioning is strange.

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2) Inappropriate poses (X): Despite common misconception, Chinese people do not use the “prayer pose” (合掌/Hezhang) for anything besides Buddhist-related activities. The prayer pose is the Añjali Mudrā, a hand gesture which is “used as a sign of respect and a greeting in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Burma and Indonesia; among East Asian Buddhists and yoga practitioners and adherents of similar traditions” (Wiki).  

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People may be confusing the prayer pose with the

Fist and Palm Salute (拱手礼/Gongshou Li), which is a traditional pose that Chinese people use for greetings during events such as Chinese new year.

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This pose consists of making a half-fist with one hand, and having the other hand hold the half-fist in front of the chest. Men should have the left hand on top, and women should have the right hand on top (although most people aren’t aware of this rule). 

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Overall, if you avoid these mistakes and keep it classy, I don’t think there should be any cause for concern. (Image Via)

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Finally, just a disclaimer that I speak only for myself, not all Chinese people – so there may be differing viewpoints on the topic.

Hope this helps!

I'm curious if you know any places that d…

I'm curious if you know any places that does hanfu renting/dressing up for a day like kimono shops in Japan and hanbok shops in South Korea? I know hanfu isn't as popular to the west as the other two but how hard is it to find these shops if I don't speak the language?

Hi, thanks for the question! (Image Via)

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There are photography studios that provide hanfu for customers to wear for the purpose of taking photos, but I don’t know of any places that let customers rent hanfu and go out on their own for the day. 

I think the reason for this is that the modern hanfu industry/market is relatively new, and therefore the “one-day rental” business model hasn’t taken hold yet. It’s only a matter of time, though – the hanfu market is growing each year, with an increasing number of hanfu being sold and people buying/wanting to wear hanfu. Once there is sufficient supply and demand to make the business model profitable (I predict within the next 5 years), I’m certain the hanfu rental industry is going to take off in China, as it did in Japan and Korea.  

In the meantime, if you want to dress up in hanfu for a day, your current options are to: 1) buy hanfu, 2) borrow hanfu from an acquaintance, or 3) schedule an appointment with a photo studio that does hanfu photoshoots.

Hanfu photography is another industry that’s seeing a boom thanks to the increasing interest in hanfu. There are quite a few photo studios that can provide you with hanfu, accessories, hair & makeup styling, and props for a personalized photoshoot, in the location of your choosing. Just look through my blog for examples of these photoshoots ^^. However, it’ll be hard to use their services if you don’t speak Chinese, since most of them make appointments through Chinese social media (and as far as I know, do not have English-speaking staff).

With that said, here are three examples of well-known hanfu photographers, all with different styles, who take appointments (click name for link to blog, where you can see more of their work):

1) 临溪摄影/Linsea Photo:

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2) 当小时/Dang Xiaoshi:

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3) 

知竹zZ:

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For more names, please look through my photo posts, which will typically contain a link back to the photographer’s blog.

Finally, a disclaimer that this is all based on my own knowledge – if anyone knows of a place that does authentic hanfu rentals, please do share ^^

Hope this helps! 

Hello, I’m not sure if this was asked be…

Hello, I’m not sure if this was asked before but can non-Chinese people wear Hanfu?

Please see my reply to this question here ^^

Hello! I remembered you had some posts tagged …

Hello! I remembered you had some posts tagged "architecture," but when I went to look on your blog again, there were fewer than I thought, and it's not listed on the tags page… Do you have another tag for architecture that I could search? Or alternatively, do you know of any blogs that focus more on traditional Chinese architecture? Thanks for your time!

Hi, thanks for the question!

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You might’ve been remembering another blog – I don’t really have architecture posts on this blog ^^;

For blogs that focus more on traditional Chinese architecture, I recommend:

1) Fuck Yeah Chinese Garden

2) Changan-moon

Hope this helps! (Image Via)

Can people who are not chinese wear traditiona…

Can people who are not chinese wear traditional Hanfu?

Hi, thanks for the question!

So this can be a contentious issue with a lot of varying opinions. Just speaking for myself – I personally have no issue with people who aren’t Chinese wearing traditional hanfu if it’s done respectfully.

For example, every so often Chinese news will report on foreign students/visitors being invited to wear hanfu while participating in cultural activities (festivals, ceremonies, weddings, even graduation photos), which I think is great to see ^^

Hello! I love your blog – I've especially…

Hello! I love your blog – I've especially enjoyed your recent posts on Mianfu! I was wondering if you have any pictures of what ruqun clothing from the Han dynasty looked like? Also do you know what the standard footwear was for that time? Thanks again!

Hi, I’m glad you love my blog, and thanks for the questions!

The two-piece ruqun/襦裙 style of clothing emerged very early on in Chinese history. During the Han dynasty, the one-piece shenyi/深衣 style of clothing (e.g. quju, zhiju) became popular among the upper class, and aristocratic women began wearing ruqun less. Nevertheless, Han dynasty women still wore ruqun, as can be seen in this Eastern Han painting:

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As depicted above, the top (“ru”) of the ruqun during the Han dynasty was generally very short, reaching just the waist. Meanwhile, the skirt (“qun”) was very long, drooping to the ground. 

Here are some historical recreations of Han dynasty ruqun from 裝束复原 and 

朝代復原体验:

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Shoes:

There were many types of shoes during the Han dynasty, with the most important being

Lǚ, Xue, Xi, and Ji. 

Lǚ/履:

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Lǚ were single-soled shoes, made of a variety of materials including hemp, leather, and silk.

The materials a shoe was made of reflected its use, as well as the status of the wearer. During the Han dynasty, people mostly wore

made of silk. They were often decorated with woven or embroidered designs and had an upturned, forked toe. One reason for having an upturned toe was to have it hold the hem of the dress up off the ground, as people didn’t want to bother gathering their dresses up themselves (and it was considered ungainly to do that in ancient China, especially for women).

Xue/靴:   

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Xue were boots, considered most suitable for horse riding. They originated with the nomads of the Eurasian steppes and were introduced into the Central Plains. Long boots were mostly worn by officers. They were decorated with gorgeous patterns, such as sawtooth lines, grass leaves, and cirrus patterns. Short boots were mostly worn by the cavalry. 

Xi/舄:

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Xi were shoes with wooden soles, usually worn on occasions of court or ceremonial proceedings.

Ji/屐:

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Ji were wooden clogs with two wooden “teeth” underneath. They were commonly worn during the Han dynasty, and mostly used for walking on long roads. Men wore Ji with square heads, and women wore Ji with round heads.

Wa/袜:

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Footwear was often worn with socks called Wa, which were made of leather, silk, or cloth.

Each sock had, at its back, a slit opening with a garter to tie it up.

People mostly wore white socks, but red socks were worn during worship to show respect for the gods and ancestors. The socks worn by the royal family and nobles were mostly made of crepe and embroidered with patterns. 

For more references, please see my Han Dynasty tag and Shoes tag. 

Hope this helps!

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Thank you so much for this blog!

Thank you so much for this blog!

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Awww, you’re too kind! //^_^//

Do you know what sort of material was used in …

Do you know what sort of material was used in traditional Chinese makeup? Did they have similar issues with toxic makeup products as Europe? Sorry, historical makeup is just so fascinating to me!

Hi, thanks for the question!

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Makeup in ancient China was created by boiling and fermenting ingredients such as plants, animal fats, and spices.

Facial powder (foundation) was one of the most rudimentary forms of makeup that was made by grinding fine rice. Another form of powder was made using lead, which despite its toxicity, was coveted for its skin-whitening properties.

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Rouge, powder used to color the lips or cheeks, was made from the extracted juice of leaves from red and blue flowers. Ingredients such as bovine pulp and pig pancreas were also known to have been added, to make the product denser. 

Lip makeup was made from the raw material vermilion, a scarlet pigment originally made from the powdered mineral cinnabar. Eventually mineral wax and animal fat were added, making the vermilion water-proof with a strong adhesive force. In order to add fragrance, raw materials such as ageratum and clove, and artificial flavors were added.

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To paint their eyebrows, women used the soot derived from burning willow branches. Another type of eyebrow makeup was made using dai, a blue mineral that was grinded into powder and mixed with water.

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From the Tang Dynasty and onwards, huadian, a decorative element located on the forehead, came into vogue. Huadian was often created using gold or silver foil, paper, fish scales, or even dragonfly wings (or just painted on). I have a detailed post about huadian here.

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Finally, nail polish originated in China (!!) and dates back to 3000 BC.

To paint their nails, the ancient Chinese used a mixture of egg whites, gelatin, beeswax, gum Arabic, alum, and flower petals.

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Hope this helps!

Sources: 1, 2, 3

Hello! You have a lovely blog! Sorry if you&#…

Hello! You have a lovely blog! Sorry if you've been asked this before; Do you know of any online stores that sell traditional chinese dresses and such? As well as traditional chinese accessories?.. Thank you!

Hi, I’m delighted that you find my blog lovely! ^^

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Please see my “Where To Buy Hanfu” page for all of my information, posts, and replies regarding where to find and buy traditional & modern Chinese hanfu and accessories. I recently just revamped the page, so it now contains links to all of my replies to previous asks about buying hanfu. I also updated the list of hanfu and accessory brands. Please check it out! 

PS – I also have “About”“Tags”, and “Replies” pages for additional information and resources.

Hope this helps! ^^

Photo via 葵花花花儿, Hanfu from 风熏堂

Are the lips of tang dynasty makeup suppose to…

Are the lips of tang dynasty makeup suppose to resemble flower petals?

Hi, thanks for the question! (Photos via 当小时)

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Tang dynasty makeup, like the rest of Tang culture, was vibrant and glamorous. 

Florid styles of lip makeup were popular – the color of red for lips included red, light red, red with golden powder, pink, etc. Women first put powder onto the lips, and then drew any pattern they liked. During the Tang, many patterns for lip makeup were invented. According to one record, there were 17 patterns in the last 30 years of the dynasty. Below – depictions of Tang lip patterns by 睿汐_Sai:

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Out of all the lip patterns, the most popular were the “cherry” lips and “flower petal” lips. Cherry lips refer to lips with the shape and color of a cherry. According to traditional Chinese beauty ideals, a beautiful woman should have a “cherry mouth” that resembles a cherry by being small, cherry-shaped, ruddy, and lustrous. Below – recreations by Chen Yen-hui:

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Another famous pattern took the shape of a little flower – “flower petal” lips. To make it, women first made an obvious depression in the middle of the upper lip. Then the upper lip contour took the shape of two petals, and the lower lip another petal. 

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There were many more Tang lip patterns, but the above two were the most popular.

Bonus – Here are some lip patterns from other Chinese dynasties (X). From left to right, top to bottom – Han, Wei, Song, Ming, Qing, Qing:

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For more references on traditional Chinese lip makeup, please see my makeup tag.

Hope this helps! (Source)