Over the centuries, Chinese culture has flourished into one of the most beautiful and richest cultures in the world. The customs of this amazing culture have fascinated people of different nationalities. Chinese weddings have captivated many people because of the colors used and the traditional acts that occur in the ceremony. The qipao is a Chinese garment used not only for special occasions but for weddings as well.
The qipao is commonly worn by Chinese women. It is one of the most traditional out of all Chinese garments. It is also known as cheongsam and has a particular charm that even women from other cultures and nationalities are drawn to.
In the past, the qipao’s collar was made tight fitting and high to keep the wearer warm; however, it was also designed for aesthetic purposes. The collar is shaped like a semi circle with its left and right sides balanced. The collar accents the slenderness and softness of the female neck. The collar of the dress is carefully made especially when it comes to the looped buttonhole because it is the finishing touch. The front of the dress’ design illustrates the female body’s maturity.
The dress contains two long slits on each side to display the legs and for ease of movement. The design of the slits on a qipao is more subtle than a short skirt because it only exposes the legs slightly when the woman walks.
Similar to other garments, the beauty of this dress comes first. The simplicity of the cheongsam is one of the factors that makes it gorgeous and well known. One of the best things about this dress is the fact that designers can have a lot of fun with it. Its design can be cut short or made longer and the collars can be high, low, or taken out.
Qipaos come in a wide variety of colors and styles. These fabulous and flexible dresses can be worn in rural and urban areas and on different special occasions.
The Wedding Qipao
Qipaos are wonderful for weddings because of their unique style. The color of the dress doesn’t have to be white. Most brides who wear qipaos on their wedding day prefer colors that are only close to white like grayish silver or cream.
Instead of the usual simple designs, wedding qipao dress can have more elaborate designs such as sequins and flowers made of sequins. The qipao is perfect for brides because it displays a woman’s softness, beauty, and her modesty. Many brides are supposed to show their chastity and purity on their wedding day and this dress definitely achieves that.
Historical and Cultural Significance of the Qipao
The history of this beautiful dress involves a legend of a young fisherwoman who lived by Jingbo Lake. This woman was very clever and skillful but she found it hard wearing a long and loose dress while doing her job. After thinking about it, she decided to make a dress that was more fitting for her job. She started sewing and made a long dress with a lot of buttons and slits. The design allowed her to tuck the front part of her dress, giving her an easier time while working.
The legend continues with a young emperor who dreamt of his father informing him about a lovely fisherwoman in the village of Qipao near the lake. His father told him that this woman would become his queen. Soon, the emperor found the woman and she became his wife, bringing her creation with her. The women of Manchu followed the trend and the dress soon became popular.
It has not been confirmed whether or not this is the true story of how the qipao came to be. However, it is true that the qipao originated from the Manchus, people who came from the ancient tribe of Nuzhen. In the 17th century a man named Nurhachi unified the various tribes and later on, a tube shaped, collarless gown was created. This garment was worn by both men and women and its popularity and look has since increased
Today, the qipao has many variations and more women in China appreciate its style and beauty. Qipao is always the first choice of dress for women in China and it is widely suggested for it to be the country’s national dress for women. This dress is and will continue to be a very vibrant and important part of the Chinese culture. For more information regarding China, read Glimpse into Great China.
Check out this video featuring the different designs of the Qipao.