Allure of the Body: Chinese Qipao

Pages 23–38
Keywords China, China-Late Qing Period and Republican Period, Chinese textiles, qipao dress, women in China, Chinese modernity
Type of Article Peer-reviewed
Citation HEROLDOVÁ, Helena. Allure of the Body: Chinese Qipao. Annals of the Náprstek Museum. Prague: National Museum, 2014, 35(1), 23–38. ISSN 0231-844X (print), 2533-5685 (online). Also available from:
Annals of the Náprstek Museum | 2014/35/1

The history of modern qipao dress covers only a few decades. The qipao represents a major visual symbol of the Chinese modernity, because it is the dress that was essentially linked to the redefinition of female body during the late Qing and Republican period. The traditional qipao was the female clothing of the Manchu aristocracy. It transformed into a masculine anti-traditionalist female dress at the turn of the 20th century, and later it shifted from a fashionable sexy dress of the 1920s to a decent and conservative garment during the 1930s. Simultaneously, the female body in qipao represented the symbolic change between the traditional, mentally and physically weak lady and the strong and healthy westernised modern Chinese woman.

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