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Exhibiting a timeless elegance

By Li Yingxue| China Daily| Updated: July 18, 2023 L M S


Chen Xiyue, a vlogger, dresses in the attire of the Song Dynasty (960-1279). [Photo provided to China Daily]

Young Chinese with a penchant for traditional aesthetics add to the romance of Hangzhou's historic West Lake by parading along its shores in their exquisite hanfu creations, Li Yingxue reports.

A new enchanting attraction has emerged along the banks of West Lake in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. There, a man and a woman dressed in exquisite traditional garments, seemingly transported from ancient China, graciously offer flowers free of charge, presenting a captivating glimpse into the past.

The man, clad in attire reminiscent of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), carries a bamboo pole adorned with a basket teeming with budding lotus flowers. At the other end, an umbrella, lantern and a box for carrying miscellaneous goods dangle gracefully.

The woman, adorned in the elegant attire of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), holds a delicate bamboo fan, gracefully wafting it to and fro. A basket laden with lotus flowers is decoratively positioned on her back.

Videos and photos featuring the pair swiftly gained traction on social media, garnering effusive praise from viewers, who found their romantic and classic attire captivating. Some even expressed their intention to visit West Lake in the hope of crossing paths with these beguiling figures.

The "Song Dynasty" maiden is actually Chen Xiyue, a 22-year-old vlogger specializing in content featuring hanfu (traditional attire of the Han ethnic group). She humbly responded on her Sina Weibo account, stating, "It is not I who has gained popularity, but rather the timeless allure of traditional Chinese culture itself".

She was inspired by the flower peddlers of the Song Dynasty and wanted to interact with passersby, by distributing lotus flowers, and bestowing blessings of good fortune.

Inviting her friend, Cai Jiale, who she thought embodies the same essence as the ancient peddler in her imagination, Chen conceived a way of exchanging lotus flowers for answers, and she prepared three questions for passersby, including asking what they would say to graduate students embarking on the next stage of life's journey.

"I have received an abundance of blessings, ranging from those meant for families, graduates, to Hangzhou itself. They are all genuine and deeply moving," she recalls. "Numerous passersby took notice, with some taking photographs, and I have been fortunate to receive an outpouring of positive feedback."

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