The Clothing of the Zhuang Minority
The Zhuang minority is an agriculture-oriented ethnic group by tradition, with a long history in handicrafts like spinning, weaving and printing, dyeing etc. The Zhuang people mainly live in Guangxi, which is between the central and south subtropical monsoon regions. Due to the warm weather in Guangxi, the Zhuang ethnic clothing is characterized by a blue-black short outfit of a jacket and pants or of a jacket and skirt. And due to the integration of ethnic groups throughout the ages, Zhuang men’s clothes are quite similar to those of their Han counterparts, with the only difference being the belt around the waist. Zhuang women’s clothes are mostly edged with lace, with an apron around the waist. Skirts are gradually giving way to pants.
The typical attire for Zhuang men is a traditional Chinese style jacket with buttons down the front, made of locally hand-woven cloth. The front-opening jacket is short-collared, sewed with a line of six or eight pairs of cloth knot buttons. There’s a pair of small pockets sewed to the chest and another two bigger ones to the belly. The jacket has an inwardly-folded broad hem and two slits at the hem in symmetry on the left and right.
Zhuang men wear a kind of knee-length wide pants instead of long pants, with some wearing leg wrappings and a headband. They wear shoes and caps (or headband) in winter and go bareheaded and barefooted in summer. On festivals or when visiting relatives, they tend to wear cloud-headed shoes with cloth soles or double hooked shoes shaped like a duck beak; when working, they wear straw sandals.
Zhuang women’s clothes are decent, simple and in good taste, with blue and black being the usual colors. They traditionally wear a pair of wide-leg pants, with a printed or jacquard woven multicolored towel wrapping the head and an elaborate apron tied to the waist. The upper garment is a navy blue or dark blue right-lapelled jacket with a short collar. The jacket may be front-opening or side-opening, with or without a collar.
There’s a hidden pocket inside the front of the jacket, and several pairs of cloth knot buttons are sewed along the front edge. The lower garment is a pair of black wide pants, with a band of silk or cotton-woven patterns in blue, red and green at the knees.
While working, Zhuang women wear straw sandals and shoulder pads. When going to a fair, a singing gathering or during festivals, they wear embroidered shoes. Most Zhuang women like to wear earrings, bracelets and circlets, but their dress patterns and small ornaments vary slightly from place to plac