The cheongsam is a female dress with distinctive Chinese features and enjoys a growing popularity in the international world of high fashion.
The name "cheongsam," meaning simply "long dress," entered the English vocabulary from the dialect of China's Guangdong Province (Cantonese). In other parts of the country including Beijing, however, it is known as "qipao", which has a history behind it.
Easy to slip on and comfortable to wear, the cheongsam fits well the female Chinese figure. Its neck is high, collar closed, and its sleeves may be short, medium or full length, depending on season and taste. The dress is buttoned on the right side, with a loose chest, a fitting waist, and slits up from the sides, all of which combine to set off the beauty of the female shape.
The cheongsam is not too complicated to make. Nor does it call for too much material, for there are no accessories like belts, scarves, sashes or frills to go with it.
Another beauty of the cheongsam is that, made of different materials and to varying lengths, they can be worn either on casual or formal occasions. In either case, it creates an impression of simple and quiet charm, elegance and neatness. No wonder it is so much liked by women not only of China but of foreign countries as well.
2. Chinese knot
Traditional Chinese decorative knots, also known as Chinese knots, are typical local arts of China. They are a distinctive and traditional Chinese folk handicraft woven separately from one piece of thread and named according to its shape and meaning. In Chinese, “knot” means reunion, friendliness, peace, warmth, marriage, love, etc. Chinese knots are often used to express good wishes, including happiness, prosperity, love and the absence of evil.
Chinese people have known how to tie knots using cords ever since they began learned how to attach animal pelts to their bodies to keep warm thousands of years ago. As civilization advanced, Chinese people used knots for more than just fastening and wrapping. Knots were also used to record events, while others had a purely ornamental function. .
The Chinese knot is based on over a dozen basic knots named according to their distinctive shapes, usages, or origins. The Two-Coins Knot, for example, is shaped like two overlapping coins once used in ancient China. The Button Knot function as a button, and the Reversed Swastika Knot was derived from the Buddhist symbol commonly seen on the streamers hanging down from the waistband of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy.
The endless variations and elegant patterns of the Chinese knot, as well as the multitude of different materials that can be used (cotton, flax, silk, nylon, leather and precious metals, such as gold and silver, to name a few) have expanded the functions and widened the applications of the Chinese knot. Jewelry, clothes, gift-wrapping and furniture can be accentuated with unique Chinese knot creations. Large Chinese knot wall hangings have the same decorative value as fine paintings or photographs, and are perfectly suitable for decorating a parlor or study.
The Chinese knot, with its classic elegance and ever-changing variations, is both practical and ornamental, fully reflecting the grace and depth of Chinese culture.
The oldest existing Chinese fans are a pair of woven bamboo side-mounted fans from the 2nd century BC. The Chinese character for "fan" (扇) is etymologically derived from a picture of feathers under a roof. The Chinese fixed fan, pien-mien, means 'to agitate the air'. A particular status and gender would be associated with a specific type of fan.
During the Song Dynasty, famous artists were often commissioned to paint fans. The Chinese dancing fan was developed in the 7th century. The Chinese form of the hand fan was a row of feathers mounted in the end of a handle. In the later centuries, Chinese poems and four-word idioms were used to decorate the fans by using Chinese calligraphy pens. In ancient China, fans came in various shapes and forms (such as in a leaf, oval or a half-moon shape), and were made in different materials such as silk, bamboo, feathers, etc.).
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