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Female Costumes of Luzhi Water Village, Suzhou

Female Costumes of Luzhi Water Village, Suzhou

The traditional custom dress is always kept by the countryside women living in the regions of Luzhi, Shengpu, Weiting and Lumu of eastern Suzhou. As their major traditional costume have characteristics of Jiangnan water village they were granted the title “Ethnic minority” of Suzhou.

Women in water village lay emphasis on combing and decoration very much. Other than black hair, numerous ornaments, they have exquisite headwear and costumes that show their ingenuity and elegance. As the strong local characteristics, it is stable to inherit. With the changing of seasons, the differences of ages and requirements of etiquette, some obvious differences will be resulted in costumes. Generally, the most outstanding costumes are in spring and autumn. In spring and autumn, women’s jackets are major in splicing shirt, shell fabrics that include figured cloth, artificial cloth and Shilin cloth with dark and light colors, colors are vivid, fresh but flamboyant. Although combined with different colored cloths, these clothes are tailed appropriated, finely sewed and strong in decoration.

By the methods of splicing, edge rolling, buttons, ornaments and embroideries, styles and characteristics of costumes are obviously represented. The trousers are tailed by blue printed cloth or white printed cloth and crotch is spliced by blue or black Shilin cloth. For starters, they are spliced because of the restriction of length of cloth and to save cloth materials. Later, practical splicing was subjective to splicing that stressed tidiness and balance as well as symmetry. The lumbar skirt is also of characteristic with length to the knees and tiny surface. There are various flower decorations in skirt surface and belt, plus a belt combining with the skirt hemline. A big pocket and different pictures and patterns around are important ornaments in costumes.

The female costumes in the water village have a long history. They are inherited from generation to generation and have become a custom. They are of highly practical value and meet the requirements for those women to do productive labor. This kind of costume also reflects the traditional aesthetic idea of the areas in the water village.