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5 Classic Hanfu Sleeve Types from the Ming Dynasty

The sleeves should take at least half the credit for the elegance and grace of hanfu.

The most striking thing about¬†Chinese Hanfu costumes¬†are their wide sleeves.¬†There are many types of hanfu sleeves. They have wide sleeves and they vary in length, width, and position. So I am curious which “sleeve position” you prefer.

Large sleeves

Large sleeves (Da Xiu ).¬†is also known by the “wide sleeve” or what we call the “wide sleeve”. It has a wide sleeve and cuff widths that almost match the sleeve length.¬†This is Hanfu’s most traditional sleeve style, as well as the most “fairy”.

5 Classic Hanfu Sleeve Types in Ming Dynasty
Robe (length 135 cm, waist width 65 cm, through-arm length 249 cm, sleeve width 72 cm.)

Hanfu dresses are most popular in the “wide-clothed and long sleeves” pose. It is difficult to work so it is reserved for the upper classes and often used as a symbol of good manners. The same large sleeves can take on different forms due to changing status, wear occasions, socio-economic cultures, and other factors.

The large sleeves of the Ming official uniforms ”¬†Chaofu” and “Gongfu [Gong Fu]” were more prominent than others. They had folded lines underneath the sleeves and provided more appropriate materials and an elegant and dignified atmosphere.

Officials wore the “Gongfu” (Gong Fu) in their daily business. The sleeve width was slightly shorter than the former and the lower line was more rounded and curvy.

5 Classic Hanfu Sleeve Types in Ming Dynasty
Robe with Buzi (length 132 cm, waist width 60 cm, through-arm length 242 cm, sleeve width 63 cm, cuffs width 27 cm, hem width 127 cm, Buzi width 40.5 cm)

The formal Ming dynasty dress for women is a Dashan Xiapei, (Da Shan Xia Pei ), with class-related patterns that are not as complex as the Ji Fu(Ji Fu ).

Ji Fu was decorated with bright colors like big red and other auspicious themes. It was beautiful, graceful, and elegant.

5 Classic Hanfu Sleeve Types in Ming Dynasty
Robe (length 120 cm, waist width 59 cm, through-arm length 213 cm, sleeve width 63 cm)

Large sleeves can be found in formal wear as well as everyday casual wear, such Daopao or Zhishen. These are simple and basic colors and decorations, and were worn by scholars and literati when they were visiting and living in their homes.

5 Classic Hanfu Sleeve Types in Ming Dynasty
Daopao (length 143 cm, waist width 60 cm, through-arm length 252.5 cm, sleeve width 70.5 cm, hem width 107 cm, collar height 13 cm.)

Hanfu’s style has been interpreted in large sleeves, which are both relaxed and dynamic for thousands of years.

Pipa sleeve

Pipa sleeve (Pi Pa Xiu ), is derived from the Chui Hu sleeve Chui Hu Xiu ). was created in the Ming Dynasty. It is one of the most distinctive sleeve styles of the Ming Dynasty.

Pipa sleeves have a similar shape to pipas. They are long and narrow with a small mouth.

5 Classic Hanfu Sleeve Types in Ming Dynasty
Robe with Buzi (length 147 cm, waist width 41 cm, through-arm length 201 cm, sleeve width 41 cm.)

The Pipa sleeve is much simpler than the Chui Hu. It has a significantly smaller curve line and virtually no bunching or sagging, which makes it beautiful and more elegant.

5 Classic Hanfu Sleeve Types in Ming Dynasty
Feiyu Robe (length 125 cm, waist width 57 cm, through-arm length 252 cm, sleeve width 49 cm.)

The pipa sleeves gradually converge upwards at the lower end, as they approach the end of their sleeves.¬†The elbow portion of the sleeve’s body is more relaxed, which is conducive to arm extension and arm flexion. It is also convenient for everyday life.

Pipa’s gentle, restrained nature is a reflection the elegant and delicate beauty of traditional Chinese culture. It is a sleeve design that is beautiful and practical.

Narrow Sleeve

The narrow sleeves (Zhai Xiu ), are characterized, as their name suggests, by narrow cuffs.

5 Classic Hanfu Sleeve Types in Ming Dynasty
Garment (length 78 cm, waist width 56 cm, through-arm length 221.5 cm, sleeve width 13.3 cm)

The “arrow sleeve” is the shortest of these sleeves. Originating from the northern minority’s dress, the “arrow sleeve” was designed to be shaped like an arrow.

This simple sleeve shape, with narrow cuffs, is great for everyday wear and has been popular for thousands of years.


Half sleeve (Ban Xiu ), is also known by Banbi, (Ban Bi ), Duanxiu, mainly for the short-sleeved clothing with wide mouths. The sleeves extend to the elbow.

It was worn by the women of the palace and the inner officials during the Sui dynasty. However, the Tang dynasty saw it become the common attire for the masses.

5 Classic Hanfu Sleeve Types in Ming Dynasty
Cotton robe (length 134.2 cm, waist width 77.3 cm, through-arm length 158.5 cm, sleeve width 40.5 cm)

The ancient Chinese half-sleeves, however, were not like the shorter sleeves we know now. They were worn over Shan (Shan, shirts, and Ao (Ao, jackets), to increase warmth and show a variety of layers and styles of dress through different combinations.


Sleeveless (Wu Xiu ). The sleeve is cut shorter when the sleeves are half-sleeved. However, the shoulder length of the sleeve is the same as the modern vest. There are many styles of collars, including square, straight and round.

5 Classic Hanfu Sleeve Types in Ming Dynasty
Dahu (length 141 cm, shoulder width 66.7 cm)

The sleeveless hanfu was a popular fashion during the Ming Dynasty. It was worn by both men (Da Hu) and women (Bijia [Bi Jia]).

5 Classic Hanfu Sleeve Types in Ming Dynasty
Bijia (length 74 cm, shoulder width 27.5 cm, hem width 79 cm, cuff width 32.5 cm, collar height 2.5 cm)

Similar to half-sleeves but without sleeves, sleeveless can be worn outside of Shan or Ao and is often the focal point of attention.

These sleeves come in a variety of sizes, lengths, or are subtle or trendy. They bear witness to the ancient Chinese civilization and rituals, but they also represent the simple, everyday life. We are still captivated by their beauty after thousands of years of trials and tribulations.

One comment

  1. good sharing, thank you for giving such things.

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