Cheongsam also named Qipao, is one of the traditional clothes in China. It originates from the middle of 16 century as an ancient clothing of Manchu ethnic minority. As for whom design this kind of dress, no one has an answer. But there has a fairy tale that long long ago near the Jingbo Lake, there lived Manchu fishing girl. She felt the old loose dress is not convenient for working, so she clipped it. Afterwards, she was picked as a princess in palace where she missed the past and wore the dress she designed again. But the king thought this behaviour guilty and drove her out of the palace. The girl died because of the kicking from the king. Manchu people heard the news of that, in order to remember this princess, people there began to wear that dress. Later, women thought it was beautiful and named it Qipao.
In the early time of Qing Dynasty, cheongsam was designed as collarless, narrow cuff, four slits and a fitting waist. Firstly, the dress did not cover the feet, only the women got married, they would wear the one covered their feet as a formal dress. When the Manchu rulers came to the central plains, they began to unify the nationwide costume as well. Men at that time usually wore long gown, meanwhile women wore cheongsam. Gradually, cheongsam has become the traditional dress for Chinese women.
The heyday of the cheongsam is the 1930s. Shanghai, at that time, as the culture center of the east and the west, not only some highest-tone women, but also folk women,workers and students worn it. Cheongsam became the formal suit for occasions of social intercourses or diplomatic activities. Later after the 1940s, influenced by foreign countries, the pruning became narrow-sleeved and fitted to the waist which shown the beauty of the female shape. And it was popular among some European countries.
Women in China like to wear cheongsam because it fits the female Chinese figure well, and with the simple lines, it looks very elegant. To Han people, this dress is not only the simple costume, but also the symbol of Chinese traditional culture.
Celia ye is a Chiese freelance writer for e-commerce website a weiku.com. She likes Chinese culture so much, not only the costume, but also many other things. She wants to introduce it to people all around.