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Remark: Through a display of Chinese dress, this exhibition at Powerhouse Museum, Australia, explores the extraordinary changes that have occurred in Chinese society over the last 300 years. The objects range from the sumptuous silk court robes of the Qing Dynasty to the latest designs from young fashion designers from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

 

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Details: Thus the custom of actors wearing masks began. Though not in general use nowadays, masks are still worn in some traditional operas, such as the local dramas performed by the Bouyei people of Xingyi, Guizhou Province. Such masks may be regarded as living fossils in the history of opera facial make-up. As Chinese dramatic art developed, the drawbacks of wearing masks became increasingly evident, for masks prevented the actors from showing their facial expressions. A vividly painted face, however, enables audiences to see expressions clearly even from a distance, a great advantage in the days when dramatic performances were usually staged in the open air before large crowds. The name "cheongsam," meaning simply "long dress," entered the English vocabulary from the dialect of China's Guangdong Province (Cantonese). In other parts of the country including Beijing, however, it is known as "qipao", which has a history behind it.

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