1644 was a turning point in Chinese costume history. The Manchus,
a race of tribesmen who lived north of the Great Wall, overthrew the Chinese
Ming dynasty. They named their new empire Qing, which meant
During the 267-year Qing (Ch'ing) dynasty, the more conspicuous
forms of Manchu cultural expression were used to signal both ethnicity
and political control. These included:
in the Ch'ing Dynasty
Apparel in Transition
- A bilingual policy required all official documents to be written in both
Chinese and Manchurian.
All males, whether Manchu or Han Chinese were required to shave their foreheads
and wear their back hair braided into a Manchu-style queue.
- As part of their political strategy, the Manchu demanded that
Manchu-style clothing be worn by anyone engaged in government service.
Thus, in appearance, the Han Chinese became Manchu. Official court
wardrobe was regulated by laws which were strictly enforced. However,
non-official clothing was not regulated, so the Manchu and Han each had
separate non-official wardrobes.
A. C. (1958).
Chinese Costume in Transition. Singapore:
V. (1982). Fashion in China. Dress,
J. E. (1983).
Decoding Dragons: Status garments in Ch'ing
Dynasty China. Eugene, OR:
University of Oregon Museum of Art.
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Updated: July 13, 1999
Copyright Belinda T. Orzada, University of Delaware, 1997. All rights