Encyclopedia > Qipao

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The qipao (旗袍) or qipaor (旗袍儿), also known as the cheongsam or mandarin gown, is a body-hugging woman's dress originating from the Manchus.

History When the Manchu began to rule China, certain social strata were arranged. Among the strata were the 旗 (qi or "banners"), mostly Manchu, who as a group were called 旗人 (qiren or "banner people"). Manchu women typically wore a one-piece dress which came to be known as the 旗袍 (qipao or "banner dress"). The dress proved popular enough to survive the political turmoil of the 1911 revolution which toppled the 清 (Qing) Dynasty and, as a result, and with later refinements, has become the archetypal dress for Chinese women.

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