Dress thumbnail 1
Dress thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Dress

1950s (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The tight-fitting high-necked dress known as qipao in Mandarin and cheongsam in Cantonese is seen as the ubiquitous Chinese woman's clothing, embodying femininity and modernity (re. the terminology: this type of robe (male and female) was sometimes referred to as changshan in Hong Kong until at least the 1980s, and from this word derived the English loan word cheongsam, which now refers exclusively to the female version of the dress and this word has long been used in Hong Kong and Southeast Asian regions).


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Embroidered silk
Brief Description
Dress (cheongsam or qipao), white silk embroidered with a large coiled dragon in gold, Hong Kong, 1950s
Physical Description
Dress (cheongsam in Cantonese or qipao in Mandarin), in white silk embroidered with a large coiled dragon in gold. It has short sleeves and a stand-up collar.
Dimensions
  • From top neck to bottom hem height: 116cm (Note: including 6.5 cm neck height)
  • From sleeve end across back to sleeve end width: 58cm
Credit line
Given by the Chee Family in memory of our mother Mary Lee-Chee (李徐銀女單)
Object history
This cheongsam was made in Hong Kong in the 1950s by a Hong Kong tailor for the donor's mother, Mary Lee-Chee (李徐銀女單), who lived in Malaysia and went to Hong Kong to study make up and hair dressing. She wore it to social functions and on outings with her friends. She continued to wear it at school graduations when she was the principal of the dress making school in Kuching, Malaysia. This school was the first state registered dress making school approved by the education department of Kuching, Malaysia in the 1960s.
Subject depicted
Summary
The tight-fitting high-necked dress known as qipao in Mandarin and cheongsam in Cantonese is seen as the ubiquitous Chinese woman's clothing, embodying femininity and modernity (re. the terminology: this type of robe (male and female) was sometimes referred to as changshan in Hong Kong until at least the 1980s, and from this word derived the English loan word cheongsam, which now refers exclusively to the female version of the dress and this word has long been used in Hong Kong and Southeast Asian regions).
Collection
Accession Number
FE.35-2014

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record createdMarch 18, 2014
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