Apricot-yellow, semi-formal dragon robe (jifu),
silk and gold-wrapped thread embroidery on gauze weave
silk, made in China in the 1800s.Powerhouse Museum
collection. Purchased with funds given by Ken and
Yasuko Myer, 1989. Photo by Penelope Clay.
in many cultures, dress was a way of distinguishing a person's
position in Chinese society. While this was more apparent
prior to and including the 19th century there is still evidence
of it today.
cheungsam is regarded by many as the classic national
dress for women. While its origins may be seen in the court
garments of the Qing dynasty another garment - the Mao suit
- was also for a time the national dress. The Mao suit reflected
major political change and had as its origins military dress.
designers both within China and abroad are influenced by
China's rich textile history. The work of Chinese designers
today reflects aspects of the past as well as embracing
and revolution: Chinese dress 1700s-1990s was presented
in 1997, it coincided with a significant event in Chinese
history, the hand over of Hong Kong to China by the British.
on Chinese language
The pinyin system of romanising Mandarin Chinese
has been followed with the exception of commonly accepted
local place names such as Peking instead of Beijing and
Canton instead of Guangzhou; and Cantonese terms, such as
cheungsam, which is used in preference to the Mandarin
To assist the reader with pronouncing
Chinese names and terms the following guide is provided.
= ts (caifeng = ts'aifeng); q = ch (Qing = Ch'ing); x =
sh (xuesheng fu = shüeh sheng fu)
pronunciation of Chinese terms see the glossary.
studies developed by the Professional Support and
Curriculum Directorate and supported by the Multicultural
Programs Unit of the NSW Department of Education and
Training in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum