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A changshan (help·info) (simplified Chinese: 长衫; traditional Chinese: 長衫; pinyin: chángshān; literally: "long shirt") is a traditional Chinese dress (long jacket or tunic) worn by men. In function, it is considered the male equivalent of the women's cheongsam (qipao). It is also known as a changpao (chángpáo 长袍) or dagua (大褂 dàguà). These types of dress were widely adopted beginning under the Manchu (Chinese: 满族) rulers of the Qing dynasty(Chinese: 清朝), who required that men in certain positions wear this style. It took more time for the majority of women to adopt the new style of qipao rather than hanfu(Chinese: 汉服).
The Mandarin Chinese word changshan is cognate with the Cantonese term 長衫 chèuhng sàam. This was borrowed into English as "cheongsam." Unlike the Mandarin term, however, chèuhngsàam can refer to both male and female garments. In Hong Kong the term is frequently used to refer to the body-hugging female garment rather than the male changshan. Because of the long British presence in Hong Kong, that local usage has become reflected in the meaning of cheongsam in English, which refers exclusively to the female garment.
Changshan, along with qipao, were introduced to China during the Qing dynasty (17th–20th centuries). The Manchus in 1636 ordered that all Han Chinese should adopt the changshan style of dress or face harsh punishment. However, after the 1644 fall of the Ming dynasty, the Manchu stopped this order; they required only that court and government officials wear Manchu clothes. Commoners were still allowed to wear the hanfu. Over time, the commoners adopted the changshan and qipao as their own dress. The traditional Chinese Hanfu style of clothing was gradually replaced. Over time, the Manchu style gained popularity.
Changshan was considered formal dress for Chinese men before Western-style suits were widely adopted in China. The male changshan could be worn under a western overcoat, and topped with a fedora and scarf. This combination expressed an East Asian modernity in the early 20th century.
The 1949 Communist Revolution ended the wearing of changshan and other traditional clothing in Shanghai. Shanghainese emigrants and refugees carried the fashion to Hong Kong, where it has remained popular. Recently in Shanghai and elsewhere in mainland China, many people have revived wearing the Shanghainese changshan. It is made of silk.
Use of changshan
Changshan are traditionally worn for formal pictures, weddings, and other formal Chinese events. A black changshan, along with a rounded black hat, was, and sometimes still is, the burial attire for Chinese men. Changshan are not often worn today[update] in mainland China, except during traditional Chinese celebrations but, with the revival of some traditional clothing in urban mainland China, the Shanghainese style functions as a stylish party dress (cf. Mao suit).
- Rhoads, Edward J. M. (2000). Manchus & Han: Ethnic Relations and Political Power in Late Qing and Early Republican China, 1861–1928. Studies on Ethnic Groups in China. Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 61. ISBN 9780295979380. OCLC 43569203.