Why The Costumes In Chinese Dramas and Hanfu Are Difference

As Hanfu has received more and more attention and has important cultural significance, Hanfu is becoming a popular cultural trend. More and more Hanfu lovers take Hanfu to the streets and are seen by the public. However, due to the rapid development of Hanfu, many people are not clear about Hanfu and drama costumes, and even regard Hanfu as drama costumes.

In this article, we will make a simple distinction and explanation between Hanfu and opera costumes from the aspects of the definition, style, design, and use.

Hanfu is Hanfu, and the opera costume is opera costume, they are different. It may be that the opera costumes are inspired by Hanfu, so there are some similarities in appearance, but a careful study shows that there are great differences between them.


Hanfu, the abbreviation of Chinese Han traditional costumes, carries more than 30 kinds of intangible traditional culture and arts and crafts.

Hanfu can be divided into two stages: ancient traditional Hanfu and modern Hanfu. The ancient traditional Hanfu originated from the clothes created by the Yellow Emperor and disappeared in the early Qing Dynasty. It is a self-contained clothing culture system; Modern Hanfu is a national traditional dress system constructed by inheriting the basic contents of ancient Hanfu.

Costumes refer to traditional Chinese opera costumes, also known as costumes. Costumes are traditional Chinese operas, such as Huangmei Opera and Kunqu Opera, which are worn on specific occasions to express specific drama content. The main purpose is to achieve the expected artistic effect.

Although the opera costumes may get design inspiration from the Hanfu, they are different from the daily costumes. They are not divided into seasons, dynasties, and grades, and can be basically used among different operas.

Differences In The Production

Opera Costumes are similar to Hanfu, but we can not simply think that opera costumes are Hanfu costumes. First of all, there is a very obvious difference between the cutting method of opera costumes and traditional Hanfu costumes, and this difference is becoming more and more obvious with the change in historical dynasties.

Moreover, opera costumes are appropriate and necessary exaggerated and deformed costumes based on reality, which does not have the universal applicability of daily wear.

Opera costumes are a general term, including more than 20 styles, such as 蟒、靠、帔、褶. In terms of color selection, there is also a very regular and strict hierarchy.

Usually, the top five colors are yellow, red, green, white, and black, that is, the positive color and the bottom five colors are purple, blue, pink, lake, bronze, or fragrant color, that is, the secondary color. Next, some examples are given to illustrate the differences between opera costumes and Hanfu costumes.

The Python Robe in the Hanfu was named after the python pattern embroidered on it. It was the dress of ancient officials. However, in the drama, the setting of python robes broke away from the restrictions of the dynasty. On the stage, the emperor usually wore yellow dragon robes, while python robes were the clothes of civil and military officials, and added the element of water sleeves.

Later, with the rise of Kunju Opera, many costumes were influenced by the style of Hanfu costumes in the Ming Dynasty and were designed and transformed on this basis. For example, 帔 in Kunju Opera is a kind of opera costume created based on the cloak of the Ming Dynasty.

As can be seen from the following figure, there is a big difference between the cloak of the Hanfu costume and that of the opera costume. The cloak of the Hanfu is designed with wide sleeves. The sleeves are relaxed from the sleeve root to the cuffs, while the sleeves in the opera are basically the same in width from the sleeve root to the cuffs. The cuffs are decorated with water sleeves, which is more elegant than the Hanfu dress. Then the opera costumes are more exaggerated in the form of expression.

Comparison Of The Difference

Due to limited resources, the pictures of costumes in the picture are only for reference.

1)Python Robe (蟒袍): Ancient official dress. In the opera, it is generally the common dress for the emperor, generals, empresses, ministers, and other noble figures.

2) Taoist robe(道袍): The civilian clothes are often worn by scholars in the Ming Dynasty. The Taoist robe is characterized by a cross collar and a protective collar. Although the length and width vary, the white protective collar is mostly short and wide. The opera costumes are usually the costumes of civil and military students, young students, young people, Dan roles, etc.

3) Cloak(披风): Ming Dynasty Bei Zi. A coat was worn on the outside for men and women.

4) Cloak(氅). Also known as crane cloak. The cloak in the opera also serves as a coat. It is usually worn by military generals and Xiake.

Generally speaking, the main venue for costumes to play a role is on the stage, which cooperates with the makeup of the actors to show the drama plot and reflect the character characteristics of the characters. Hanfu is mainly used in daily life, and there are different dress codes for different occasions.

Opera costumes and Hanfu costumes have a far-reaching connection, which is interrelated but independent of each other. Therefore, opera costumes cannot be simply equated with Hanfu costumes, nor can they be confused.

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