Recently, the "National Reading Conference · 2023 China Good Book" ceremony was broadcast on CCTV, where People's Fine Arts Publishing House's "A Brief History of Chinese Clothing" was honored with the 2023 China Good Book Award. To celebrate, the publisher hosted a book sharing event titled "A Glimpse of Millennia—Discovering the Beauty of Chinese Culture Through 'Hanfu'" at Tianjin Publishing Building's Jindu Bookstore.

Professor Hua Mei spoke at the book sharing session

The event featured a lively discussion with three distinguished guests: Professor Hua Mei, author of the awarded book and an expert in costume history; Qi Dejin, a professor of fashion design at the School of Art at Tianjin University of Science and Technology; and Li Ling, an associate professor of fashion at the School of Fashion and Art at Tianjin Polytechnic University.

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The discussion delved into the defining characteristics and historical evolution of Hanfu, the traditional Chinese attire, and its stylistic elements in modern fashion design. The panel also explored the poetic expression of Hanfu and how it can foster cultural confidence.

Hua Mei began by highlighting that Hanfu embodies the sartorial essence of the Chinese nation. She cited the stunning performance at this year's CCTV Dragon Year Spring Festival Gala, where 93-year-old Dunhuang art and craft design expert Chang Shana's creative program "Nianjin" captivated the audience with its oriental aesthetic. From the simplicity of the Han dynasty, the elegance of the Tang dynasty, the grace of the Song dynasty, to the dignified beauty of the Ming dynasty, each era's attire and makeup left a lasting impression on viewers.

"A Brief History of Chinese Clothing" chronologically traces the five-thousand-year journey of Chinese attire, ensuring a comprehensive and uninterrupted narrative. According to Hua Mei, understanding the poetic nature of Hanfu requires a deep appreciation of Chinese traditional culture, achieved through extensive reading and knowledge accumulation.

The book defines "clothing" or "attire" in four aspects: clothing itself, accessories, makeup, and accompanying items. Clothing includes main garments (covering the torso), headgear (hats, scarves), and footwear (shoes, socks), sometimes extending to gloves. Accessories range from hairpins and earrings to necklaces, brooches, and belts, serving decorative or symbolic purposes. Makeup, which transforms the skin into a canvas, has roots in ancient practices like tattooing and continues in contemporary cosmetics. Lastly, accompanying items such as canes or swords enhance one's identity and status. A true history of clothing must encompass not just garments but also the manner of wearing them, reflecting gender, age, status, occasion, and national and ethnic characteristics, thus giving cultural significance to clothing history.

Professor Qi Dejin elaborated on incorporating traditional Hanfu styles and elements into modern fashion design, emphasizing the potential for Hanfu to shine brightly in the contemporary era.

Associate Professor Li Ling stressed that attire remains a vital cultural topic, embodying the civilization worn on one's body. She advocated for integrating Hanfu into the "Guochao" (national trend) and cultural tourism to revive traditional culture in everyday life, thereby promoting Chinese heritage more effectively.

The event concluded with Hua Mei answering audience questions about "A Brief History of Chinese Clothing." Director Jiao Fubin shared insights on what makes the book a distinguished work, expressing that the discussion had deepened their understanding of Chinese attire and allowed them to genuinely appreciate the beauty of Chinese culture through Hanfu.

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