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Changshan

Men of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association wearing the Changsun

In traditional Chinese dress, a     (simplified Chinese: 长衫; traditional Chinese: 長衫; pinyin: chángshān; literally: "long shirt") is the male equivalent of the women's cheongsam (qipao). It is also known as a changpao (chángpáo 长袍) or dagua (大褂 dàguà).

The Mandarin Chinese word changshan is cognate with the Cantonese term chèuhngsàam, which has been borrowed into English as "cheongsam". Unlike the Mandarin term, however, chèuhngsàam can refer to both male and female garments, and in Hong Kong is frequently used for the body-hugging female garment rather than for the male changshan. The Hong Kong usage is reflected in the meaning of "cheongsam" in English, which refers exclusively to the female garment.

A similar Burmese garment, called taikpon eingyi (တိုက်ပုံအင်္ဂျီ) which is also a jacket featuring mandarin collars, is part of formal attire for men at weddings and other formal functions. However, taikpon eingyi is much more form-fitting than the changshan, with sleeves that cut off at the wrist and typically made of silk cloth.

History

Changshan, along with qipao, were introduced to China during the Qing dynasty (17th–20th centuries). The Manchus in 1636 ordered that all Han Chinese should adopt the changshan style of dress or face harsh punishment. However, after the 1644 fall of the Ming dynasty, the Manchu stopped this order, and only required the court and government officials to wear Manchu clothes. Commoners were actually still allowed to wear the hanfu. However, over time, the commoners adopted the changshan and qipao as their own dress.[1] Thus, the traditional Chinese Hanfu style of clothing was gradually replaced. Over time, the Manchu style gained popularity.

Changshan was formal dress for Chinese men before Western-style suits became common in China.

The male changshan went well with the western overcoat, fedora, and scarf, and portrayed a unique East Asian modernity.

The 1949 Communist Revolution ended the wearing of changshan and other similar clothing in Shanghai, but Shanghainese emigrants and refugees brought the fashion to Hong Kong where it has remained popular. Recently there has been a revival of the Shanghainese changshan in Shanghai and elsewhere in mainland China. It is made of silk.

Use of changshan

Changshan are traditionally worn in pictures, weddings, and other more formal historically Chinese events. A black changshan, along with a rounded black hat, was, and sometimes still is, the burial attire for Chinese men. Changshan are not often worn today in mainland China, except during traditional Chinese celebrations but, with the revival of some traditional clothing in urban mainland China, the Shanghainese style functions as a stylish party dress (cf. Mao suit).

References

  1. ^ Rhoads, Edward J. M. (2000). Manchus & Han: Ethnic Relations and Political Power in Late Qing and Early Republican China, 1861–1928. Studies on Ethnic Groups in China. Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 61.  


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