Researching the history of the iconic cheongsam, the Chinese traditional dress

On this wet Sunday afternoon, I am feeling very sorry for myself – laid up with a cold – but I am distracting myself by researching the history of the the cheongsam for Bound Feet Blues, The Book.

What I am learning is that clothing has national and political significance. The cheongsam originated with Manchu rule in China when the Manchurians from the North East overthrew the Ming Dynasty in 1644. They required all men to wear their hair in a plait – known as a queue – and everyone had to wear clothing in the Manchu style: with the high collar and side buttons. Those who defied this requirement could be punished by death. It was a way of dominating the Continue reading