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56 Ethnic Costumes in China

There are 56 nationalities in China, each has its unique costume culture. This article is a guide to the most distinguished trait for each ethnic clothing in China.

1. Mongolian Clothing

Mongolia is a group that enjoy a long history in China. The traditional Mongolian costumes often have accessories, garment, belt and boots four parts. Mongolian women often wear a lot of jewelries made of agate, pearls, gold and silver.

2. Hui Ethnic Clothing

The major characteristic of the Hui clothing lies in the head ornaments. Men wear white hat and women wear turban.

3.Miao Ethnic Clothing

The Miao art and crafts like cross-stitch work, embroidery, brocade, batik and jewelry making are well known in the world. It's no wonder that Miao clothes are famous for the splendid color, complicated silver accessories, and intriguing cultural connotations.

4. Dai Ethnic Clothing

Dai people mainly live in the tropical areas of Yunnan, therefore, their costumes are simple, light and colorful. The most common clothes is straight skirt.

5. Lisu Ethnic Clothing

Lisu people mostly resided in Nujiang River area, Yunnan. Their costumes are very characteristic. Women often wear embroidered tops, linen skirts, and ornaments like red and white beads, corals and shells, while men wear short tops inside, linen gowns outside, knife on the left side of the waist and arrow bags on the right.

6. Tibetan Clothing

As one of the oldest nationalities in China, Tibet has a rich culture in clothes. The basic parts of the Tibetan clothing are baggy gowns, long sleeves, big open front, right lapel, long skirt, tall boots, braided hair, and loads of gold and silver beads and jade jewelries.

7. Zhuang Ethnic Clothing

As the most populous ethnic group in China, Zhuang people excel at weaving and embroidering. The Zhuang fabric and brocades are famous for their exquisite patterns and the splendid color. Meanwhile, the stylish Zhuang batik is also well-known in China.

8. Chaoxian Ethnic Clothing

Chaoxian people mainly live in northeast China, and they love plain-colored clothes, especially the white color. Therefore, Chaoxian people also claim themselves as the "White People".

9. Gaoshan Ethnic Clothing

Gaoshan people often wear red, yellow or black colored clothes. Men can wear waist skirt, overskirt, and gowns; while women often have short tops, long skirts, and pants. They also like to wear flower garlands.

10. Naxi Ethnic Clothing

Naxi women are well-known for their industry and capability. Two distinctive features of Naxi ethnic clothing are: 1. there is a seven-star shawl made of sheepskin behind the clothes; 2. the shawl is fashioned with embroidered clothing rings and hanging tassels.

11. Blang Ethnic Clothing

Blang people wear simple clothes as the Dai people. Women have collarless tight tops and tube skirts in red, green or black color, while men wear collarless cardigan tops and black saggy pants.

12. Achang Ethnic Clothing

Based on what an Achang person wears, you can judge if he/she is married. Single men often have their head wrapped in white or black cloth, while the married men can only wear navy blue headbands. Single women can braid their hair, and wear white or blue cardigan tops decorated with silver buttons and blue or black pants. The married women need to comb their hair into a bun and wrap their head with black cloth, and wear the long tube skirt.

13.Nu Ethnic Clothing

Men of Nu nationality often wear cross-neck gown and knee-length trousers. Women often wear cardigan tops and long shirts with black or red waistcoats.

14. Ewenki Ethnic Clothing

The main materials for Ewenki costumes are animal skins and the most favored colors are blue and black.

15. Oroqen Ethnic Clothing

As most Oroqen people used to engage in safari, the traditional Oroqen ethnic clothes were mostly made of deer or roe deer skins. Even the embroidery patterns on the flaps, collars and cuffs are modeled after natural landscapes or animals.

16.Hezhen Ethnic Clothing

Fish skin clothes are the most distinctive feature of Hezhen costumes. Both Hezhen men and women wear them. Besides, they also have gowns made of roe deer skin, boots made from deer skin and accessories of sea shells.

17.Monba Ethnic Clothing

Monba people mainly live in Menyu and Motuo areas in Tibet. The people in Menyu area all wear Tibetan style robes, belts, brown round caps with rimming of yellow edges and a eye-catching gap in the front. Their boots are often red or black and made of soft leather.

18.Bai Ethnic Clothing

Bai people favor the color white and they believe it’s the representation of innocence. Besides the clothes, the most prominent part of the Bai clothing is the women's headdress, which is composed of four parts and each symbolizes four beautiful scenes in Dali, wind, flowers, snow and moon respectively.

19.Bonan Ethnic Clothing

The costumes of Bonan people are similar to that of Hui people and Dongxiang people. Men often wear white caps, white shirts, black waistcoat, blue or white trousers. While unmarried girls have bright colored skirts and soft, gauzy green silk hijab; married women wear white hats in daily, and black hijab when going out.

20. Buyi Ethnic Clothing

The traditions for Buyi clothes are that men wear shirts and gowns and women wear skirts. Men's clothes are quite plain, while women's dresses are often decorated with all kinds of exquisite patterns.

21. Daur Ethnic Clothing

The costumes of Daur people are mostly made of animal skins. In old times, men and women both wore leather hats, robes, leather pants and leather boots. Later, Daur people began to wear cotton garments as well. The common colors are blue, black and gray.

22.Deang Ethnic Clothing

Deang people have a unique clothing culture. Men often wear blue or black shirt with a large front, wide and short trousers, and black or white headscarves. Young men wear white headscarves and old men wear black ones. On two sides of the headscarves are colorful pompons. In addition, men wear big earrings and silver necklace. While women mostly wear short navy blue or black tops with four or five couples of silver buttons and long skirts with colored horizontal lines. One thing worth mentioning is that Deang women don't keep their hair. Instead, they will shave their heads and wrap them with black cloths.

23.Dongxiang Ethnic Clothing

Most Dongxiang men wear baggy robes, belts, waist knives, white or black hats; women wear embroidered tops, trousers with embroidered lace, and silk hijab.

24.Dong Ethnic Clothing

Dong men mainly wear cardigans and large headscarves. Women have big shirts with a large front, and skirts or pants below. The mostly used colors are black, blue, white and purple, and the purple colored clothes are mainly wore in big occasions.

25.Dulong Ethnic Clothing

The traditional clothes of Dulong people is a piece of linen blanket called "Yueduo". It can serve as blanket at night and a gown in the day. Women often wear two pieces, while men only wear one piece. Also, Dulong women used to wear face tattoos, colored headscarf, big earrings, chest chains and rattan bracelets. Men often keep their hairs and wear choppers and darts.

26.Russ Ethnic Clothing

Russian men mostly wear knee-length pullover shirts and slim pants. Women have high-waisted skirts and handwoven shirts.

27.Hani Ethnic Clothing

Hani people mostly wear dark blue clothes made of Hani native nankeen. Men wear the cardigan tops, long trousers and black or white headscarves. Women have collarless tops, embroidered pants or skirts, and various silver accessories.

28.Kazak Ethnic Clothing

The costumes of Kazak people have a distinct feature. Men wear loose clothes made of animal skins, especially the sheepskin, while women like the bright colored skirts and vest.

29.Jino Ethnic Clothing

The clothes of Jino people are simple and plain, and mostly made of handmade cloths in blue, red, and black stripes. Men often wear saggy pants and collarless white coat, while women often wear embroidered white vest, collarless coat with long sleeves, black and red skirt in black and red rim, and carry a gunny bag.

30.Gin Ethnic Clothing

Gin men usually have knee-length garment with open front and narrow sleeves, and fastened with a belt. Women wear a close-fitting top with narrow sleeves and a piece of cloth hanging on the chest. Their pants are mostly black or brown. The other distinctive ornament about Gin people is their bamboo hats.

31.Jingpo Ethnic Clothing

Jingpo men often wear black cardigans and wide leg trousers. Young Jingmen have white headscarf while old men have black. Jingpo women have the similar tops with the men, and black and red skirt below. They also like to wear silver collars and bells.

32.Kirgiz Ethnic Clothing

Kirgiz men usually wear white round collared shirt with embroidered lacy, coat made of sheepskin or blue and black cotton, and belts made of leather or fabric. Women often wear long dress. Girls have bright colored dress while married women wear dark colored dress. Both Kirgiz men and women love to wear waistcoats.

33.Li Ethnic Clothing

Men of Li group usually wear collarless tops, long trousers, and wrap headscarves on their head decorated with pheasant feathers. Women have short shirt and black hood fashioned with embroidered patterns and beads. In big events, they also wear silver hairpins.

34.Lahu Ethnic Clothing

Lahu men wear light-colored robe with a right lapel, long trousers, and headscarf. Women's clothes are more like that of Tibetan women. Besides, Lahu people revere the black color.

35.Luoba Ethnic Clothing

The most prominent characteristic about the Luoba Clothing is the use of wild plant fibers and animal skins. Meanwhile, Luoba women have a lot of accessories on their costumes, indicating their wealth and social status.

36.Manchu Clothing

Manchu clothes refer to the men's robe with horse-hoof shaped cuffs, waist belts or cardigan magua, and the qipao costumes for women, which evolved to the modern cheongsam and became the formal dress for Chinese women in official occasions.

37.Maonan Ethnic Clothing

The costumes of Maonan people are similar to that of Han people and Zhuang people. In old times, Maonan men liked to wear Tang suit, while women liked to have embroidered tops and trousers just like Han people.

38.Mulam Ethnic Clothing

The clothes of Mulam people are a lot like that of Han people. The biggest difference is that Mulam people love color cyan and their costumes are often simple and plain.

39.Primi Ethnic Clothing

Pumi people absorbed the costume features of their neighboring groups and make their own unique clothes. One outstanding characteristic of Primi clothing is the headband. More headbands one has, the more respected he/she is.

40.Qiang Ethnic Clothing

The costumes of Qiang people are quite gorgeous. Men and women have the similar clothes. They like to wear cyan or white headscarf, linen garment, sleeveless vest made of goatskin and puttees. The only difference is that women wear patterned tile-shaped headscarves.

41.Salar Ethnic Clothing

The traditional costumes of the Salar people are bright -colored and a lot like that of Hui people. Salar men wear caps, and women hijab just like Hui people.

42.She Ethnic Clothing

The characteristics of the She national clothing are mainly reflected on women's costume, which is called Phoenix Costume. The long braid tied with a red string on the head represents the head of the phoenix; the embroidered patterns in red, pink, orange, gold, and silver colors symbolize the colorful body of the phoenix; while the wavy golden waistband on the back of the costume is a symbol of the phoenix tail, and the tinkling silver ornament attached to the clothes can make the sound that is believed to be the voice of the phoenix’s. Besides, married women often wear a phoenix coronet.

43.Shui Ethnic Clothing

Red and yellow are the tabooed colors in Shui people. Cool colors like blue, white, and cyan are the best favored colors. Therefore, costumes of Shui people are quite simple, plain and practical.

44.Tagik Ethnic Clothing

The biggest feature of Tagik costumes is the hat. Tagik people always wear a round hat with hard shell. Women often wear a long red, pink or yellow veil on the hat.

45.Tatar Ethnic Clothing

The costumes of Tatar people are very unique. Men like to wear white embroidered shirts, short  vest and black trousers. Women often wear white, yellow or fuchsia long skirts with many frills. Besides, Tatar people love to wear hats, men often have black or white hat, while women have colorful hats decorated with beads.

46.Tujia Ethnic people

The costumes of the Tujia people are practical and simple. Most of them are loose and have wide cuffs. One important feature of Tujia costumes is that there is no much silver accessory.

47.Gelao Ethnic Clothing

Skirt is the major costume for Gelao people. Men have short skirt and women have long skirt. As their skirts don’t have any pleat, they are called barrel skirts.

48.Tu Ethnic Clothing

The most featured Tu clothing is colorful sleeves for Tu women. There are often seven-colored strips on women’s dress. From the bottom to top, the first color is black representing the earth; the second strip is in green representing the grass; the third strip is yellow representing the grain stack; the fourth strip is white symbolizing dew; the fifth color is blue symbolizing sky; the sixth strip is in orange color, representing the golden sunlight; and the last strip is in red color symbolizing the sun.

49.Wa Ethnic Clothing

Wa people adore color red and black. Most of their costumes are black and the accessories are red. Wa men only have a black headscarf as ornament, while women have a lot of ornaments like big earrings, bracelets, and thin rattan rings.

50.Uygur Ethnic Clothing

Uygur costumes are very finery and beautiful. Uygur men often have black and white colored clothes, while women have much brighter and colorful dresses. Besides, Uygur people love flowers, it's very common to see flower patterns being embroidered on their hats, clothes, veils, bags and shoes.

51.Uzbek Ethnic Clothing

The traditional costumes of Uzbek people are a lot like that of Urgur people. The most characteristic part is their colorful hat, which is in quadrangular shape and dark green, black, white or purplish red color. On the top of the hat are the various geometric and floral patterns.

52.Xibe Ethnic Clothing

The traditional Xibe costumes are robes, which are similar to Manchu robes. Men mostly wear magua, dome hat, and long boots, and their clothes are mostly in green, blue, brown or black color. Women wear pants, white socks, embroidered shoes made of cloths, and ornaments like earrings, rings, and bracelets.

53.Yao Ethnic Clothing

Yao nationality is a typical mountainous people. Men often wear simple, loose clothes in black or dark blue. While women excel at embroidery, it's common to see their clothes fashioned with all kinds of exquisite patterns. They also like to braid their hairs and wrap them around their head, and decorated with colorful beads.

54.Yugu Ethnic Clothing

Two most distinguishing characteristics of Yugu clothing are their high collars and hats with long tassels. Yugu people like clothes with contrasting colors like red, blue, white and black, and fashion them with silver ornaments and simple patterns.

55.Yi Ethnic Clothing

Yi people are distributed in Yunnan, Sichuan, Guizhou and Guangxi. Different regions have different costumes. In general, costumes of Yi people have rich colors, diversified styles, and loads of silver accessories and embroidered patterns.

56.Han Clothing

Han nationality is the major group in China and the Han Clothing often refers to the traditional robes developed from imperial times. The main characteristics of Han clothing lies in its plain color, loose robes, no button being used, and the wide sleeves.

The diverse ethnic clothing culture is a epitome of rich Chinese culture. Knowing a group’s clothing is a great way to understand their culture and customs. If you are interested in ethnic culture of China, we suggest you start by appreciating their unique clothing.