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Classical Ladies' Fashion Design and Society Changing (10): Mongolian Robe

Updated on March 9, 2014
Ordos Mongolian robe
Ordos Mongolian robe | Source

For some historical reasons, the Mongolian country was separated into two parts: the greater half became one of 56 ethnic groups of China, i.e. inner Mongolian chu, the other half is the country of Mongolia adjacent to China. Even belong to different countries, people still remain the same language and same clothes. Mongolian people became the ruling part of China in 13th century, and had deep relationship with Man ethnic group, i.e. Manchu, which was the governor of the last feudal dynasty, so their national clothes was influenced by Hanchu (the major group) and Manchu cultures, but it roots deeply into its local culture and survival surroundings: the grassland.

The life on the grassland: eagle, horse, human
The life on the grassland: eagle, horse, human | Source

Mongolian people were originally nomad group living in cold Mongolian highland. They had developed the national style of being unrestrained and straight, bold and brave, and best at horsemanship and archery in their special survival environment, as they had developed their unique cultural value and aesthetic taste. Mongolian clothes and music especially show out the national style.

The national costume is called Mongolian robe, mainly including long robe, belt, boots, and accessories, but with minor differences from place to place. For example, the robe of women in Horqin, a location on Mongolian highland, is loose and straight from top to the bottom, while in Ordos, female robe is generally constituted of three parts: an undergarment with long-to-the-wrist sleeves in the shape of horseshoe, an overcoat robe with elbow-long sleeves, and a sleeveless jacket. A pants and boots are necessary. With the decorated belt band at waist area, exquisite hat, and sparkling jewelry, women wearing such dress show both the astute and the glamorous.

The robe show their affection for the great nature by striking colors, splendid designs, exquisite embroidery, and rare accessories. They introduce blue sky and white clouds, green grass and red flowers, rivers and lakes as the clothes flowery design, and wear pearls, carnelians, jadeites, corals to match their dresses, which reflects a natural harmony. The beautiful belt band is necessary, which helps to appear female curve on one hand, and reduce trifles for horsemanship skills. At the same time, the robe is generally a little loose to show their generosity and kindness, and fit to the cold environment with heavy and warm materials, such as cashmere.

Mongolian embroidery
Mongolian embroidery | Source

Mongolian dress appears the super skill of Mongolian women at embroidery, which is an art treasure and culture essence. Girls begin to learn embroidery by the age of eight nine years old from their mothers. The beautiful grassland is the resource of their imagination. They create various patterns to symbol wealth and rank, happiness and freedom, as well as life propagation, via a figurative and overstated artistic representation. The patterns and colors are rich and shiny, but never falsely sentimental. Stitches in various ways could be bold or delicate, and make patterns embossed vividly. All those patterns and materials are equally suitable for everyone from any social ranks, implicating the keen of Mongolian people for freedom, happiness and harmony, and the perfect integration of decoration and practice. Mongolian embroidery embodies a brilliant local culture, and records the history, belief, ideal and taste of a group of people.

Mongolian robe symbols the specialty of a brave nation. Nowadays, people tend to wear modern simpler clothes in practice, but Mongolian robe is still popular in daily life on the vast grassland.

Mongolian robe in Zha Lute region
Mongolian robe in Zha Lute region | Source

Mongolian Fashion Today

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    • Hui (蕙) profile image

      Hui (蕙) 5 years ago

      Yeah, those local and ethnic art are so beautiful. There are a lot of others in the world, and we just don't know. Have a nice day, Virgina.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 5 years ago from United States

      Hui--this is so interesting and these robes are very beautiful. I did not know that there was such symbolism in the robes.