Chinese costume drama promotes charm of traditional culture to international audiences

Promotional material for Story of Yanxi Palace and The Legend of Fuyao Photos: IC

Exquisite garments made with Chinese silk tapestry technique known as kesi, which was once used to make clothes for royalty since the Song Dynasty (960-1279), has appeared in Chinese costume dramas. Not only are the domestic audiences applauding the sharp increase in the quality of costumes appearing in such dramas, once criticized as “mass-produced” and “plastic,” audiences overseas also get a taste of the culture. traditional Chinese through movies and TV series. who follow the hot trend.

Go back in time to 2018, the Chinese costume drama History of Yanxi Palace was a real star because of the quality of the production, especially the costume and prop design. In addition to using the kesi technique for making dresses and fans of royal figures, “hand embroidery”, a type of embroidery rooted in the folk art of southwest China, and ronghua, a type of velvet hairpin that was famous during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and is now part of the intangible cultural heritage of Jiangsu Province are also used to make costumes and props for these performances, making them almost real examples of China’s intangible cultural heritage.

“What makes today’s clothing more refined is the way in which the different resources are integrated. For example, we used to only look for factories and tailors if we wanted such clothes, but now we are looking to collaborate with artisans in the villages and also to design clothing consultants, historians and fashion researchers. With them, they take the lead in clothing, it can bring culture back to the people, ”Wang Yi, an insider said on Saturday. of costume design, to the Global Times.

The 2018 drama apparently isn’t the only one that took costume design seriously. In 2020, another Beijing Opera-themed TV series Winter begonia also impressed audiences with over 100 finely crafted Beijing Opera costumes, even leading overseas audiences to appreciate the Chinese culture behind the dresses.

“I only have a stereotypical impression of these Chinese style dresses, that they all look like hanfu, or just want to look expensive and rich. But when I take a very close look at the dresses in the TV series, I am drawn to the way the Chinese flowers are arranged on the fabric and also drawn to how these unique garments can reveal the personalities of Chinese opera performers … I want to do more research on Chinese design by referring to opera clothing… “Heenie, a 25-year-old South Korean textile student in London, told Global Time on Saturday.

The costumes didn’t just grab the attention of viewers; their popularity has also saved online garment businesses. In 2020, fans of the popular Chinese fantasy period drama Love and Redemption saved a garment company in Guangzhou, capital of southern China’s Guangdong province, from bankruptcy after recovering 20,000 sets of traditional Chinese clothing from the company hanfu clothes in a week.

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