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Hanfu - Traditional Han Chinese Clothing

2 April 2007

If somebody tells you the clothing shown in the picture above could become the ceremonial uniforms of the Chinese athletes in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, surely you won’t feel surprised – traditional dress parade has always been one of the highlights on the opening ceremony, and Chinese are yet to make their contribution in this field.

These fanciful Olympic uniforms are designed by some Chinese Netizens based on a clothing style that has thousands years of history, worn by Han Chinese ever since the time of Yellow Emperor who is considered to be the founding father of the Chinese nation and the common ancestor of all Han Chinese.

Contemporary Chinese in the traditional Han clothing
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Han people are the biggest ethnic group in China and the prime creator of the Chinese culture. In the recent decades, as the result of the one-child policy imposed solely on the Han, its proportion has fallen, but still it consists of 92 percent of the total population in the mainland. As for in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, it is said to be between 94 and 98. The Han is also the biggest ethnic group in the world, counting 19 percent of the global population, meaning nearly one in every five people on the planet has a Han background.

Han dress’ flowing style and integrated ties for fastening wonderfully reflect a rich, flexible and inclusive spirit of the Chinese culture, while its close association with silk makes it one of the most visually appealing garments in history.

Han Dress In the Chinese Paintings illustrated by Chinese artists
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A thousands-year old cultural tradition, sadly, was brought to a brutal halt more than three hundred years ago by the Manchurians who demanded the locals, Han and other ethnic people, giving up their way of living and adopting that of Manchus. Hundreds and thousands of people were massacred in defending their dress code their hair style and their honour, echoing the events of carnage conducted under the similar mentality in the other parts of the planet at the time.

It would be nice if one day 1.3 billion Han Chinese, or say 20 percent of the total population on earth, once again bear their own unique expression based on Han’s distinctive physical features and wealthy cultural heritage - like what other 55 ethnic groups have done in the mainland. If that could be the case, then China’s streetscapes will be much more interesting and inviting, so are the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

A little Chinese girl in the traditional Han dress holding a traditional Chinese fan posing in the traditional Chinese veranda

A newly opened theme restaurant called Han Style Eatery (汉风食邑) in Beijing’s Fengtai district

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