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“Hanfu Fever” lights up the fragrant spring days in WHU
Author:Wei Yena  Date:2018-04-24  Clicks:

At avigorous springtime,a Hanfu cultural theme activity was held in front of the Zhenhua Building, attracting numerous students as well as passersby on campus to stay awhile and participate in this event.

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A girl dressed in Hanfu

Hanfu, also known as Hanzhuang or Huafu, is the traditional apparel of the Han nationality, with distinct Chinese characteristics, philosophy and wisdom. It is believed to have come into being during the Yellow Emperor period, glittering out her resplendent brilliant rays and also going through peaks and troughs during the history. After the darkest time in the Hanfu’s development, with the implementation of hair shaving and fashion and outfit changing policies in the Qing dynasty, Hanfu has  been revitalized and brought to the foreground nowadays.

This Hanfu cultural theme activity is one of the hallmark events in the Literature Carnival held by students from the College of Chinese Language and Literature, with devotion and support from Hanfu enthusiasts. It comprises three parts: classical etiquette show, drama show and a variety of cultural immersion activities.

As can be seen in the picture below, in the accompaniment of melodious ancient music, three elegant ladies and a gentleman came to the court, exhibiting the gorgeous Chinese clothes and ancient etiquette to give the audience a glimpse of ancient people's decency and modesty in different occasions.

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Classical Etiquette Show

Then a drama, adapted from the famous Han Yuefu poem Southeast the Peacock Flies, was performed on the stage. Actors dressed in Hanfu relived the tragic love story between Jiao Zhongqing and Liu Lanzhi, paying tribute to their sincere affections and rebellious spirit. The fitted Hanfu simply added a sense of history to the show, with its aid the audience can be drawn to the story more easily. And it also added a touch of mystery to a drama whose plot was already well-known.  

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A scene from “Southeast the Peacock Flies”, with Liu Lanzhi (left) and Jiao Zhongqing (right) who is under female disguise

In the cultural immersion activities, participants were engrossed in the profound and extensive cultural knowledge. A game named Lijin Huachang caught much attention. A student made a demonstration of how to bow and salute and the participants followed suit. “We intend to spread and popularize the ancient etiquette and demeanor. Those gestures are not in use anymore, but they embody Chinese courtesy and prove that China has always deserved the title of the ‘State of Ceremonies’, no matter the era in time.” said Xudan, one of the activity organizers.

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Etiquette presentation and practice

“A complete Hanfu garment is assembled from several pieces of clothing into an attire, including Yi (any open cross-collar garment), Pao (any closed full-body garment), Ru (open cross-collar shirt), Shan (open cross-collar shirt or jacket that is worn over the Yi), Qun or Chang (skirt) and Ku (trousers).” One of the staff explained to the people gathering around, “The form and texture of each item vary across different genders and ages.” she added.

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Illustrations of different forms of Hanfu

“It is a pity that common people’s knowledge of Hanfu is still confined to what they can find on the Internet. Some people are even misled by the costumes used in photographic studios or films so that they take those flashy gaudy gowns with shoulder pads as the conventional demeanors of Hanfu.” said Zhou Qilai, a student and also a staff member. And she adds, “The truth is, the comfort of the wearer and the grace of color are essentially what Hanfu calls for. Perhaps costume designers should make up their missed lessons.”

“I have five sets of Hanfu and I started a Hanfu club in my high school.” Lv Zhuoying from the School of History stated proudly. She still has close bonds with the members in her club and whoever shares the same interest, and she adds, “We exchange information on relevant cultural activities through QQ groups. And for sure, we share buying and selling information as well.” she chuckled. In her opinion, it is high time for Hanfu to develop and prosper, “Hanfu is entering the consciousness of the public. Its aesthetic value is being discovered and cherished, and certain elements are already adopted by high-fashion designs.” However, as a student majoring in history, she also expressed her concern that such spontaneous activities and interest-driven communications might not contribute to the serious empirical study which requires not only evidence on paper but also what’s behind it. “I don’t see that in a short time Hanfu will be listed as an independent branch of clothing design. In-depth study and specialized scholars are undoubtedly necessary if we expect to set up a system and to formulate authoritative theories on such a basis.”

According to the interviewees, it is hard to count up the number of students appreciating or possessing Hanfu, but one thing for sure is that students majoring in Chinese literature and history account for the vast majority. It seems that the popularization of Hanfu culture still has a long way to go, but at least, the Hanfu cultural theme activity has taken the first step in rekindling Hanfu culture in Wuhan University.


(Photo by Yang Ziqing)

(Edited by Xu Yixian, Wang Wei, Edmund Wai Man Lai, Liu Jiachen and Liu Xiaoli)



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