china absolute tours logo
Sitemap
Zoom In  Zoom Out

Modernized Lifestyle from Tradition


 
 
China’s modern culture has been the fruit of Western influences. And the shift people’s lifestyle well reflects such influences. The modern Chinese were to find themselves increasingly accustomed to new items, new ways, new ideas, etc., in various aspects of everyday life.

Clothes were among the most obvious changes. Chinese men gradually abandoned the former tangzhuang (唐装) jackets and loose long gowns that had been worn for thousands of years in China, and put on the neat, close-fitting Western business suit or Mao suit (known in China as Zhongshan suit, named after Dr. Sun Yat-Sen). Mao suit became little short of the national dress for Chinese males after the founding of the Republic of China (1912), and the typical image of a Chinese student or politician then was in a Mao suit. Business suit was soon widely seen worn by businesspeople in such big metropolises as Shanghai and Hong Kong. For women, cheongsam, more popularly known in China as qipao (旗袍), was created in the 1920s in Shanghai and became fashionable with the upper class. This new attire style was a product of Sino-West cultural encounter. It was based on the traditional baggy, one-piece long dress of Manchu women which covered most of the women’s body while revealing only the head, hands, and the tips of the toes, and was redesigned to be slender and tight-fitting with a high cut, accentuating the figures of women.
 

modern Chinese lifestyle, traditional Chinese lifestyle

modern Chinese lifestyle, traditional Chinese lifestyle

modern Chinese lifestyle, traditional Chinese lifestyle

             Traditional loose, long gown for males          

         Tangzhuang         

Traditional baggy,one-piece long dress of Manchu women

modern Chinese lifestyle, traditional Chinese lifestyle

modern Chinese lifestyle, traditional Chinese lifestyle

modern Chinese lifestyle, traditional Chinese lifestyle

Mao suit, or Zhongshan suite, to be popular national dress for Chinese males in most of  the 20th century.

Western business suit

Qipao suit for women, designed on the basis of traditional Manchu women's long dress

modern Chinese lifestyle, traditional Chinese lifestyle 

Typical campus uniform in the era of Republic of China 1912~1949.

 


Chinese food culture came under foreign impacts, too. Western restaurants popped up in late 19th century, not only in international metropolises like Shanghai and Guangzhou, but also in inland cities like Chengdu. Upper-class people would invite guests for knife-and-fork Western style dinners as a fashion. And in an average opera house, people would find Western desserts of various kinds on sale: bread, cakes, hamburgers, biscuits, pastries, etc.

Urbanization drove more Chinese people into city life, where they were to find themselves accommodated in buildings different from the traditional wood structures. The advantages of Western architecture were recognized in urban life, which seeks in all ways economy of space and convenience of life. Brick-wood structures became dominant. And reinforced concrete structures were introduced into China somewhere at the turn of the 20th century. The city of Tianjin as well as Qingdao saw the rise of a multitude of Western-style villas. In Shanghai, apartment buildings, attached houses, and slums coexisted with detached garden villas to accommodate an expanding urban population, and Shikumen (石库门) residences were developed, which soon became popular residential housing in Shanghai and other spread to other cities like Nanjing, Hankou, Fuzhou, Tianjin and Qingdao. The city landscape changes with modern architecture.
 
modern Chinese lifestyle, traditional Chinese lifestyle

modern Chinese lifestyle, traditional Chinese lifestyle

Traditonal Chinese residential architecture.

An alleyway flanked by traditional residences.

modern Chinese lifestyle, traditional Chinese lifestyle

modern Chinese lifestyle, traditional Chinese lifestyle

Western style buildings, featuring reinforced concrete structure and skyscrapers, dominate the skylines of modern Chinese cities.

Shikumen stone gate buildings in Shanghai became a popular modern residential housing style.



Inside the household, the Chinese families were to open their arms to new furniture items and appliances. Sofa, which feels soft and warm, proved more comfortable than traditional Chinese hard-wood chairs and stools, and became a most sought-after in a well-off family. Public utilities like running water and electricity became available in Chinese cities. People turn to the taps instead of wells for water, and began to use light bulbs rather than candles or oil lamps for illumination. Well-off families would also get connected to the telephone network and buy a gramophone.
 

Transport was modernized, too. A nationwide railway network had taken shape by 1937 (on the eve of the War of Resistance against Japan) and greatly shortened the distances between various central-eastern Chinese regions. Trams appeared in Shanghai, Beijing, Dalian, Tianjin, etc, bringing convenience to public life. Bicycles soon found its market in Chinese cities. By 1915, there had been around twenty bicycle shops in Shanghai. It became nothing unusual for a Shanghai citizen to go to work or go shopping by bike in the 1940s.
 

modern Chinese lifestyle, traditional Chinese lifestyle

modern Chinese lifestyle, traditional Chinese lifestyle

Horse/donkey cart, a popular means of transport in old-time China

Sedan chair, usually affordable to the rich only in old times

modern Chinese lifestyle, traditional Chinese lifestyle

modern Chinese lifestyle, traditional Chinese lifestyle

Trams appeared in major Chinese cities, providing public transport service

Chengdu policemen patrolling on bicycles, in the 1930s

 

Other notable changes in the lifestyle of an average Chinese urban resident include: the modern postal system which began in 1878 and was to open to public service rather than formerly serving the bureaucratic system only, Western medicines which proved more effective in the short term as compared with traditional Chinese medicines, and the popularization of modern public education.
 
 
 
 


 

Leave your comments or questions:(You can use Facebook or default response system for writing down your message)
Leave a response

1-888-414-0686 (US & CA)

0-808-189-0371 (UK)

1-800-982-536 (AU)

0086-571-85278076 (Intl)

Many people are looking for   travel deals before their trip to China. We believe you may find a good China travel deal here that suits you best.

If you're looking for a great guide to the best and most interesting tourist attractions in China, then allow us to show you China from the inside.

About Us | Why Us | Terms and Conditions | Contact Us

Absolutechinatours.com Ltd ©2008-2016

Tourist Complaint Hotline: 96118