Clothing is part of human civilization and represents the identity of one nation and its people. In fact, the type and the amount of clothing we worn is dependent with various bases. It may be on gender, physical attributes social and geographical considerations. It involves different process to perfect and years to formally stabilize since it is anchored in our costumes and traditions, or culture in general. This is worn with a purpose of protection from the elements and can secure safety. In China, there are some clothing remain to be their important articles. In Communist China, Mao Suit is know and had been used centuries ago and had been even remarkable. It has its exceptional style and wondrous meaning and legacy. Yet, this became quite outdated since the young generation adopting new and modern approach and styles. However, this suit has great meaning and symbolic associations.
“Mao Suit” is firstly known as zhongshan zhuang which was named after Dr. Sun Yat-Sen. In fact, Sun Zhongshan, Mandarin name for him, had a direct involvement in the development of the suit. Dr. Sun once desired of developing a style of national dress with modern and practical approach but is identical with Western-style suit. He also spent some time in Japan where he lived and had influenced Japanese with their dress specifically the cadet naval and came up with Mao suit with general style.
During the Qing, Han people imposed Machu style as clothing. However, after the revolution, there were lots of changes including the dress – a break from traditions. Thus, Mao Suit came across and had been used by many people in the area.
The suit is a symbol of party unity. This had been recognized as such and became standard attire. This was worn by Chinese, both Nationalist and Communists. This is still worn in formal occasions by leaders of Communist party. But, Nationalists had first developed and become forever associated with the Communist Party. And, it is quite strange.
Mao Suit, as a two-piece outfit made of polyester, can be visualized as unique with Western-style business suit because of the thin collar. Navy blue or olive green is the usual color. Thischinese clothing consists of tunic style jacket with loose fitting trousers. Also, with buttons that run all the way up to the neck. The five buttons serve as representation of the five branches of the government namely: supervision, jurisdiction, examination, legislation, and administration. Likewise, Dr. Sun’s Three Principles of the People were adopted and had been a reason to depict the three buttons on the cuffs. Pockets made the suit attractive; two lower pockets and pocket on each side of the chest. These four pockets represent Four Virtues: honesty, justice, prosperity, and shame. These representations came after Dr. Sun’s death – the beginning of people’s ascription of symbol and its significance.
Moa suit will remain as it is. For the West people, it serves a symbol of lack of individualism and conformity. But, means a lot for Chinese as symbolic associations – more and more symbol of the past.
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