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Dressed up Like an Old Beijing Resident

The traditional costumes in Beijing are mainly inheritance from the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and the Republic of China (1911-1949), adopting both Han and Manchu styles.

As an old Chinese saying goes "Buddha needs to be decorated with gold, and human beings with clothes" and another one goes as: "Four basic elements in daily life are clothing, eating, dwelling and transportation", in which clothing comes first. These two old Chinese proverbs connotate the importance of attire in Chinese culture. As China is being increasingly prosperous, clothing is no longer just a necessity to keep warm. It not only symbolizes a person's economical status, but also a significant mark of an individual's role in the society.

In the ancient capital-Beijing, costumes representated (as they have been for a long time) even more, there clothing reflects different societal custom and living habits throughout the different phases of Chinese history.

In the mid 17th century, when China is under the reign of Qing dynasty, Manchu rulers moved their capital to Beijing and later integrated the whole China and unified the nationwide costume, substituted loose gowns and large sleeves of the former Ming Dynasty(1368-1644) with  Chang Pao, cheongsams and Ma Gua. And the Manchu empire forced the Hans to shave their heads and plaited a long hair at the back, just as the Manchu people did. Males are forced to wear Manchu style clothing while women could still wear Han style clothing as before.