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Men of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association wearing the Changsun Officiers of the Six Companies b.jpg
Men of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association wearing the Changsun

A changshan (Chinese : 長衫 ; pinyin :chángshān; lit. 'long shirt'; [ʈʂʰǎŋʂán] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )) is a traditional Manchu dress (or robe, long jacket or tunic) worn by men. In function, it is considered the male equivalent of the women's cheongsam (qipao). It is also known as a changpao (chángpáo 長袍, "long robe") or dagua (大褂, dàguà, "great jacket"). It was often worn by men with a magua or "riding jacket". These types of dress were widely adopted beginning under the Manchu (Chinese :滿族) rulers of the Qing dynasty (Chinese :清朝), who required that men in certain positions wear this style.


The Mandarin Chinese word changshan is cognate with the Cantonese term 長衫 chèuhng sàam. This was borrowed into English as "cheongsam." Unlike the Mandarin term, however, chèuhngsàam can refer to both male and female garments. In Hong Kong the term is frequently used to refer to the female garment rather than the male changshan. Because of the long British presence in Hong Kong, that local usage has become reflected in the meaning of cheongsam in English, which refers exclusively to the female garment.


Changshan, along with qipao, were introduced to China during the Qing dynasty (17th–20th centuries). The Manchus in 1636 ordered that all Han Chinese should adopt the changshan style of dress or face harsh punishment. However, after the 1644 fall of the Ming dynasty, the Manchu stopped this order; they required only that Han men who served as court and government officials wear Manchu clothes. Commoner Han men and women were still allowed to wear the hanfu. Over time, the commoner Han men adopted the changshan as their own dress [1] while Han women still wore a hybrid of qipao and hanfu. The traditional Chinese Hanfu style of clothing for men was gradually replaced. Over time, the Manchu style of male dress gained popularity among Han men.

Changshan was considered formal dress for Chinese men before Western-style suits were widely adopted in China. The male changshan could be worn under a western overcoat, and topped with a fedora and scarf. This combination expressed an East Asian modernity in the early 20th century.

The 1949 Communist Revolution ended the wearing of changshan and other traditional clothing in Shanghai. Shanghainese emigrants and refugees carried the fashion to Hong Kong, where it remained popular. Recently in Shanghai and elsewhere in mainland China, many people have revived wearing the Shanghainese changshan. It is made of silk.

Use of changshan

Changshan are traditionally worn for formal pictures, weddings, and other formal Chinese events. A black changshan, along with a rounded black hat, was, and sometimes still is, the burial attire for Chinese men. Changshan are not often worn today in mainland China, except during traditional Chinese celebrations but, with the revival of some traditional clothing in urban mainland China, the Shanghainese style functions as a stylish party dress (cf. Mao suit).

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  1. Rhoads, Edward J. M. (2000). Manchus & Han: Ethnic Relations and Political Power in Late Qing and Early Republican China, 1861–1928. Studies on Ethnic Groups in China. Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 61. ISBN   9780295979380. OCLC   43569203.