When it comes to Qi Pao (Cheongsam), it's regarded without question as one of the traditional costumes of China. Actually, to be precise, Qi Pao is not really the traditional costume of China, at least, it is far more modern than Hanfu clothing (Han is the predominant ethnic group of China). It's been just a hundred years since the time when Qi Pao started thriving to the present. However, this kind of special dress wielded Western style pruning, together with the distinctive element of Qizhuang (which originated from the Manchu Dynasty (1616 - 1912) ) had done out the effect having strong visual identity feeling. Its bright Chinese characteristic and modern pruning highlighting womanly curves easily became a cultural hallmark, which was imprinted clearly and uniquely between history and modernity. Even after hundred years, there is still a place for it in fashion world. From a design perspective, Qi Pao is definitely a classic combination of Chinese and Western style in terms of fashion design.
Red -- A strong wind is blowing and makes her hair dance! Even the peonies couldn't help cheer her free and confident pose!
Orange -- Time flies! See, maple leaves have turned golden brown. Our view of her back as she walks away reminds us that our past is also always behind us, moving further and further away.
In the very beginning I decided to create Soft-Sculpture, Qi Pao as an element was involved in my subjects. Besides Qi Pao's own distinctive visual effect, I was mostly influenced by my mother. Ever since I can remember, my mother liked wearing colourful Qi Pao, and was like Zhang Manyu (a famous Chinese actress) who starred in a movie -- A Mood for Love. She was the main attraction wherever she went, showy but elegant, sexy but decent. It's difficult to imagine a costume the same as Qi Pao, which can completely and perfectly show both women's reserved manner and charm. Unlike Zhang Manyu, all of the Qi Paos my mother wore were made by herself, besides that, she made a lot of improvements on traditional style. For example, she used a fishtail gown style at the dress's train instead of traditional high slipt long tail.
Yellow -- A flower is formed by a thousand petals and there are a thousand flowers on every tree. The dulcet tones of the lute almost will the fragrance of the flowers to increase with the sound of her music.
Green -- In the depths of the forest, there are some cicadas softly singing. Quiet and comfortable, it seems she wants to put mundane things aside for the moment and enjoy sweet dreams under a tree.
Regardless of whether Qi Pao can represent China as a cultural symbol or not, just from the angle of aesthetic, women resplendent in fine silks accentuating the body's graceful curves is really enchanting. Qi Pao is modest enough, compared to Bikini, whereas it gives compliments generously to female curves, compared to Hanfu clothing. I think the reason why Qi Pao becomes a classic and appears frequently on the international stage, is not because people choose tradition but the beauty of the dresses. Everyone wants to show the beautiful side of their countries to the world.
Night blue -- The night is as cool as water, the moonlight has a silent gentleness that imparts a lightness and harmony to all it touches. It is the greatest thing to enjoy a cup of tea and admire the full moon in a garden full of chrysanthemums.
Blue -- She stands under the tree and hopes against hope that he will come. For sure, she knows he will definitely come, for she has the lover's promise.
A Combination of Female Beauty and Natural Beauty
Unlike other traditional costumes, Qi Pao is not only an exclusive costume for women, but it also works perfectly for women's gender features. Every woman in Qi Pao is like a flower which is beautiful and graceful. It seems that the beauty of a female and nature always parallels naturally, being gentle, quiet, tolerant and gracious. Certainly, the definitions about women and nature are far more than what I observed. I just love the beautiful, tranquil scene side which breeds tremendous strength and magnificent courage. The world is changing all the time, but the tranquility of nature is always there and you can find numerous seeds of beginnings and hope here. If nature had a gender, she must be the most gracious mother.
Purple -- The grape turns from green to red year after year, much as life is filled with ups and downs and twists and turns. Maybe all this is inherent in having life at all.
Pink -- She is lying down in the lily garden, as if the sky is her sheet and the earth is her bed. What a sweet rosy dream!
So when the words of mother, Qi Pao, female, nature occurred to me, the Qi Pao series were born. I was trying to praise nature and show my attitude to life, which is looking for power from serenity, in a way that was female, Chinese and natural. The group has 8 pieces each one representing one color, which symbolizes a rich and colorful life. Besides taking Qi Pao as a subject to show approval of natural and a peaceful life from the feminine point of view, the most distinctive feature is that of the background patterns with elements of the natural world such as different kinds of flowers, which are made by a traditional Chinese handicraft called "Paper Cut". Paper Cut is one of the most popular Chinese decorative folk arts, which is also called "Window blossoms" because they were always put on windows for decoration. It's also a symbol for people to express their wishes for blessings and fortunes and it's usually created by red paper. However, there should be more room for all of the ancient and traditional techniques to achieve their full potential besides their original mission because it's the only opportunity that they can be ALIVE.
I even think such a silent communication between artist and viewers is also an art.
In the end I'd like to introduce you my tanlented mother who made these excellent artwork.