Cheongsam and mahjong are very much part of the festive tradition of Chinese New Year. There are also famous movie scenes in which ladies are playing mahjong and wearing this traditional Chinese dress, which is called cheongsam in Hong Kong or Qipao in China and Taiwan.
In this video, we will explore how these two very Chinese symbols run parallel in history, the reasons behind their relevance today and their importance as a culture.
Their historical origins are both obscure and could be traced back to much earlier periods in Chinese history.
But its present forms are believed to take shape in the Qing dynasty, and gained popularity in the early twenty century Republic of China period, and reached its height to become part of people's daily life before the Second World War. It is also the period that they spread oversea.
These Chinese traditions were carried on and blossomed in Hong Kong and other Asian cities while they declined in Mainland China for political reasons.
Today both of them could become highly relevant again to our lifestyle for different reasons. With the rise of the Chinese, they are digging into their own culture and looking for a stronger identity.
Cheongsam becomes an alternative for those who appreciate the craft and outfits that are more personal and unique. The dress also encourages an environmental lifestyle by making people more body-conscious and treasure fewer pieces, but last longer clothing versus the fast fashions that dominate the world currently.
Mahjong, on the other hand, provides people with a pastime that makes them meet face to face around a table, chitchat and enjoy physical social life versus interacting online only through digital devices.
In Hong Kong, the word “Cheongsam” literally means a long robe worn by men. It is believed that the current signature tight fit figure-hugging form is developed from this men’s wear but adopted a western cutting after the war, which is very different from the earlier versions worn in China, which got a loose cutting mostly in one piece with much fewer seams.
The dress is so elegant that it gives the signature look to Maggie Cheung’s role in Wong Kar-wai’s movie, In the mood for Love 花樣年華.
We hope one day we will also bring mahjong to such as height in the world arena that it is not only appreciated as a game, but also as a culture. That is why we named our brand Glocal, not just local but also global.
We believe Cheongsam and mahjong will sustain and remain in fashion and be liked by people across ages and countries for their common features. They both allow great diversity and creativity with simple elements and structures.
Cheongsam got its iconic look through its standing collar, an asymmetric left-over-right placket and two side slits, but allows unlimited diversity with its fabric, buttons, collar details, shapes of placket and silhouettes.
Mahjong with its standard tiles and rules allow unlimited combination making each game unique and demanding the players to come up with strategies. It is liked by people of different ages from different places as it is a game with the right balance of luck and skill.
Hope you enjoy this type of content which adds other dimensions to mahjong.