Fashioning Modernity and Qipao in Republican Shanghai(1910s-1930s)

by Qing Huang

Institution: Ohio University
Year: 2015
Keywords: Art History; modernity; qipao; myth; women; the Republic of China; Shanghai
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2078768
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ohiou1429701221


In 1912, the founding of the Republic of China (1912-1949) signaled the end of the Manchu-ruled Qing dynasty (1644-1912) and the Chinese imperial system. During the Republic era, the semi-colonial city Shanghai represented the complexity of Chinese modernity, which was about the tension between traditional Chinese and modern Western cultures. In urban Shanghai, the changing clothing demonstrated the changing society in the new state as well as individuals’ experience with modernity in the new era. Emerging from the 1920s, the one-piece qipao became the exemplary dress for modern women in the 1930s. The characteristics of qipao include a high neck, a fitted waistline, and side slits. The significance of qipao lies in the combination between Chinese and Western styles. The current thesis focuses on the different, and even contradictory, meanings of qipao in the form of myths between the 1920s and 1930s. By interpreting the myths about qipao, I will examine how fashion and modernity were linked. Advisors/Committee Members: Lee, Marion (Advisor).