Thursday, August 5, 2010
The Art of the Qipao
During my recent trip to Malaysia I stopped for a few days in Hong Kong, where I was lucky to catch an extraordinary exhibit at the Museum of History: The Evergreen Classic – Transformation of the Qipao. Tracing the evolution of the qipao (or cheongsam, as it's known in Cantonese) from its origins as the gown worn by Manchu women during the Qing dynasty to its golden age in 1930s Shanghai and subsequent efflorescence in post-war Hong Kong, the show features an astonishing 280 qipao as well as more than 400 photographs.
As you can see from my photos below, it's a sight to behold, whether you're a dedicated lover or just a casual fan. I was so overwhelmed by the sheer number and variety on display that I planned to return for a second visit but didn't have the time. Unfortunately, no catalog was published for this exhibit (a colossal missed opportunity that I'm still scratching my head about), so get yourself to Hong Kong by September 13 if you can't bear to miss this rare and precious spectacle.
A PDF of the exhibition pamphlet is available here.