The inner beauty of Chinese Traditional costumes: What the concubines wore in The Tale of Zhen Huan TV series
The hottest TV series on air is currently The Tale of Zhen Huan. Adapted from a novel with the same name, this series tells the story of how a naïve girl became a sophisticated concubine in the palace. It reflects the life of ancient Chinese concubines and involves the craze of royal court drama. The classic dialogue of the characters and their gorgeous costumes have become the subjects of heated discussion.
Let’s take the heroine Zhen Huan as an example to see what women were wearing at different stages of their life.
Maiden Zhen Huan: Pattern of lotus pond in spring reveals her heart
This costume was worn when Zhen Huan was still a maiden. According to hierarchy in Qing Dynasty, though she was born in a Han family, she belonged to the Man aristocrats. However, she was dressed in the same manner as Han women at home—a loose-sleeve top, which deemphasizes the curve of a woman’s figure. Most of the body was covered by a long dress with the graphic pattern of a spring lotus. This implied Zhen Huan’s identity as a daughter of the minister. The grapes in good harvest indicate “happiness”, suggesting that Zhen Huan might have lots of children in the future.
Hiding herself: orange pink represents her first love
In this picture, Zhen Huan wears a bright-colored dress but the look on her face is lonely because the man she was waiting for didn’t show up. Now she has changed from a carefree little girl into a young women waiting for her first love. The tourmaline beads and rose-shaped pink tourmaline hairpin serve as proof of her romantic feelings. The white silk scarf belt on her neck, it is commonly seen in TV dramas set in the Qing Dynasty, it has a elegant name—longhua. In the Qing Dynasty, longhua was needed all year around because the costumes did not have collars. With one end in the armpit and the rest on the chest, longhua not only lights up the look but also keeps the wearer warm. However, with the advent of collars, longhua gradually disappeared in use.