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Chinese Traditional Dress Through the Ages

Each dynasty in China formed its own distinctive culture. The colourful design and patterns emerged in a dynasty were marvelous and became an indispensable part of Chinese culture, including their wearing apparel, which were highly commended for the fine handicraft.

The costumes of ancient China were typical spokesman of Chinese tradition, and also an essential element in the history and culture of each dynasty. The costumes kept a special role in Chinese culture for more than three thousand years. The costumes are elegant and colorful. There were lots of dynasties throughout China's history, each having its own unique style of dress.

With the advent of a new dynasty, costumes dramatically changed. For example, the style was classical and conservative in the Qin and Han dynasties, extravagant and charming in the Tang dynasty, refined and sophisticated in the Song dynasty, graceful and magnificent in the Ming dynasty, and very intricate in the Qing dynasty.

Qin and Han Dynasties
During the Qin and Han dynasties, the dress styles changed dramatic. The Emperor Qin, who wanted to wear something different from the former dynasty- Zhou Dynasty. As the favorite colour in the Zhou is red, in the Qin Dynasty, the black became the most commonly seen colour.

The Tang Dynasty
As the most thriving, prosperous, splendid, and glorious period of ancient Chinese culture and art. The style of women's clothing during the Tang Dynasty is the most outstanding in China's history. Tang dynasty attire had many different styles, while retained elegant, noble and poised, as well as peculiar and amazing. Such clothing was particularly fine and delicate, and the decorations lustrous.

Song Dynasty
Clothing in Song Dynasty can be classified into three categories of style: designed for the empress, the noble concubines, and females of all levels of "government uses"; another one called "formal clothes" worn by ordinary people; and the last one was casual for daily use.

The Yuan Dynasty
In the Yuan dynasty, "Zhi Sun dresses" were popular. All people, no matter common people or government officials, wore them to attend feasts inside the palace. This clothing could be made from materials of varying weight and quality.

The Ming Dynasty
Upper-class female in the Ming Dynasty prefered clothes with three collars with narrow sleeves. The body length was over three feet. And pleated skirts were extremely popular. A special kind of cape also was also prevalent in the Ming dynasty, called "pink cloud cape" for its beautiful shape. 

The Qing Dynasty
In the Qing dynasty, Manchurian-style clothing with short narrow sleeves was the widely seen . The style was slender and rectangular in form. The most peculiar feature is the saddle-shaped collar, which was both of aesthetic beauty and practical applicability. It was large enough to cover a person's cheeks and protect the face. The entire garment, which was not lined, was cut straight from top to bottom, bearing no waist, looks like a box-like and quite unique.

As an important part of ancient Chinese culture, ancient attire embodied the harmonious relationship between people and nature. Although the costumes of the different dynasties have no close connection to each other, they all all had their own distinctive features.