Elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage

    Making of Chinese Cheongsam


    The Cheongsam is one of the traditional Chinese garments, presenting both male and female versions, with the latter being designated as qipao. Cheongsam is a fitted garment that needs to be tailor-made. As such, and before making this type of garment, it is necessary to measure several references, including the collar position, shoulder width, body length, upper chest, waist and the arms. From design to its completion, the making of a Cheongsam usually involves several different phases, including cloth cutting, soaking in water, drying, shaping, sewing and embroidery of the edges. This craft requires a great deal of skill, in order to ensure that the garment is completely symmetrical, and that the tailor’s work is consistent and coherent, with a uniform result in the end. The Chinese Cheongsam emphasizes the form-fitting elegance of the person wearing it, being considered a very typical oriental garment.


    Conservation Status:

    Despite the popularity of western-style clothes nowadays, traditional Chinese garments are still very popular too. Particularly, the qipao is intimately associated with ideals of oriental female beauty, being a very popular garment among local female customers. Some of the most common fabric patterns include flowers, geometric designs and auspicious Chinese symbols. Nowadays, there are only a few craftsmen in Macao who are still making Chinese Cheongsam garments by hand.


    Heritage Value:

    The Chinese Cheongsam has a profound cultural meaning, having been transmitted throughout many generations, with its inherent unique craftsmanship and techniques. This making of Cheongsam is also representative of the traditional craft of Chinese clothes making in Macao. The cultural values that are represented by its delicacy, elegance and auspiciousness, as well as its underlying aesthetic values and wisdom, are the result of the knowledge that was transmitted by many generations of tailors throughout the ages.

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