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What is the legacy of the Qing dynasty?

2016-09-30 14:37:32Share:

THE SUMMER PALACE BEIJING CHINA

 

  The Manchu identity

 

  Before the Qing dynasty, the "Manchu" ethnic group did not come into existence yet. The ancestors of the Manchus were the Jurchens (女真) of Later Jin (后金), and "Jurchen" was the name they had always went by until the Qing dynasty. During the Qing dynasty, the Manchu ethnic identity was formed and some ethnic groups were absorbed into becoming "Manchu." Therefore, the identity of "Manchu" itself was formed by Jurchens and various ethnic groups to begin with.

 

  The Jurchen queue hairstyle

 

  The Jurchens forced the Han people of the fallen Ming dynasty to keep a Jurchen queue, and those who did not follow this code were beheaded mercilessly. When the Han overthrown the Manchu Qing dynasty, the Han people finally cut off their queues, a sign of liberation from the humiliating symbol of oppression.

 

  However, the image that Han Chinese had always traditionally worn a Jurchen queue persisted. Moreover, many Chinese historical dramas nowadays are set in the Qing dynasty, so it is still a common sight on television.

 

  Manchurian garments

 

  The traditional garments worn by the Han Chinese nowadays, such as qipao, tangzhuang, changshan, and magua, are Manchu and Jurchen in origin.

 

  On the other hand, the ethnic wear of Han Chinese were outlawed by the Manchu Qing dynasty, and it has since disappeared completely.

 

  It is ironic that Han Chinese could no longer wear their ethnic wear, but Joseon officials continued to follow the Ming guanfu code.

 

  However, there were some exceptions of garment of Han Chinese origin being kept on and survived. This include the old Taoist attire (not the modern one), which look something like this.

 

  Old qipao vs modern qipao

 

  Now, while qipao is an ethnic wear of the Manchus, modern qipao is a fashion wear that has gone through extensive Westernization (they differ in origins). Modern qipao is still considered the ethnic wear of Manchu people, but its actually a Western dress that incorporated features of the Manchurian qipao. In fact, the modern qipao was invented pretty recently in the Republican Era (1912–49).

 

  Manchurian shouyi

 

  Shouyi (寿衣) is a kind of Chinese grave cloth worn by the dead. Back when the Manchus invaded the Ming dynasty, the Han people were forced to wear Manchurian clothes. Yet, the grave clothes of the deceased were allowed to follow the Ming dress code.

 

  However, even the shouyi was eventually changed to follow Manchurian customs. It is ironic that even though Han Chinese once resisted the dress code of the Manchus, they still use Manchurian clothing as their shouyi today.

 

  Buku techniques in shuaijiao

 

  Shuaijiao, or Chinese wrestling, is probably the oldest form of Chinese martial arts.

 

  What you may not have realized is the extent of Manchu influences. Many techniques of shuaijiao today have been heavily influenced by buku, aka Manchu wrestling.

 

  Shuaijiao has changed so much since the Qing dynasty that buku is arguably the basis of modern Shuaijiao.

 

  Multilingual signs

 

  The Qing dynasty was an empire built by the Manchus, but the Manchus united and allied with various ethnic groups. Particularly, the Mongols. Because of this, many important signages of the Qing dynasty would have multiple written languages for the major dominant languages: Manchu, Tibetan, Chinese, and Mongolian.