The Unique Costumes of the 56 Ethnic Groups of China

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China has been a united multi-ethnic nation since ancient times. After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the state officially identified and confirmed 56 ethnic groups. The Dasen American Academy of California presents a display of costumes and photographs representing these specific ethnic communities.

The costumes are exact replicas of clothes worn hundreds and even thousands of years ago, and still worn today on special occasions. Meticulously crafted and made from silk, fine linens and other high-quality materials, these costumes are accompanied by accessories such as shoes, head pieces and scarves.

Each costume represents the culture and ancient traditions of its own ethnic group. For example, the Tibetan costume features colorful ornaments, added to identify the success and affluence of the wearer. The headdresses of the Miao and Bai cultures include elaborate decorations which offer good wishes to all, and emphasize the significance of various spirits, animals and other features of nature.

Xiebing Cauthen, President of the Dasen American Academy, says, “China has sometimes been characterized as a monolithic nation without much diversity. These costumes tell another story. All are different from one another and each represents a distinct culture with its own unique history, traditions and patterns of behavior.”

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