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The design of a national suit – a change for an ideal society April 8, 2009

Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, design.
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Zhong San Suit (picture extracted from wikimedia.org)

When I was writing about Sun Yat Sen, it came to me that he had also designed the Zhong San  Suit (中山装 zhōng shān zhuāng ). The garment was based principally on his ideals for a prosperous and harmonious society, documented in his ‘Three Principles of the People” (三民主义sān mīn zhǔ yì)

The early form of the suit  had a closed stand collar and centre-front buttons. The design has since changed significantly over the years to symbolise the new age of revolution for the People’s Republic of China.( 中华人民共和国 zhōng huā rén mīn gòng hé guō)

The patriotic significance of the Sun Yat-sen suit was actually a Western and Japanese influenced style, most likely to be influenced by his early years of study/living in the US and Japan. While there are sources that specifies that the design has some German influence. The overall garment is tight-fitting with the four pockets representing the main ideals of government working ansd serving the people’s 3 basic needs of race,power and livlihood. (民族 mínzú  ,民权 mín quán,民生  mínshēng ) the Four Cardinal Principles cited in the classic Book of Changes and understood by the Chinese as fundamental principles of conduct:
Propriety (礼 lǐ); Justice (义yì ); Honesty (廉lián ); Shame (耻chǐ)

The five centre-front buttons were said to represent the five powers of the constitution of the Republic (民国mín guó) and the three cuff-buttons to symbolise the Three Principles of the People – Nationalism-Democracy – People’s Livelihood

He ascribed the idealism of a harmonious society through his design of the suit where the people has the greatest power to keep the government in check. In this sense, he was a great revolutionist and the father of not only modern China but the father and saviour of all Chinese -someone who rose to the politics not because he wanted the power, but to save the people from a failing dynasty that demoralise the entire race for at least more than 2 centuries of humilation and defeat.

The figure below on the right illustrates Dr Sun Yat Sen’s own handwriting of his ideals for the people through an upright and serving government :

extracted from: http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/

Chinese calligraphic work of San Min Zhu Yi to the students and colleagues of Huangpu military school, that was led by Generalissimo Jiang Kai Shek.

San Min Zhu Yi, wu guo suo zong,
Yi jian minguo, yi jin Datong.
Zi er duo shi, wei min qianfeng,
Su ye fei xie zhuyi shi cong.
Shi qin shi yong, bi xin bi zhong,
Yi xin yi de, guan che shi zhong


brief history and personal thought on Dr Sun Yat-sen (Sun Zhongshan, Sun Yixian or Sun Wen; lived during the period of 1866-1925, Cantonese) His 1st wife, Lu Mu Zhen; his 2nd spouse Song Qingling (Hainanese, former surname is Han.)  is a creative person whose patriotism and courage led him to go ahead to raise needed funds, people et cetra to overthrow the Qing dynasty(1644-1911) Something that was seemed as an impossible task from a poor and inherently passive peasant boy. In that sense of a character, he was rare. He had the bare guts to fight for what he belived was the right; and not because he had wanted anything of fame and fortune ,which he had none even at the time of his death. He had been risking his life  as a fugitive ; and if you would consider his persistent bombings and assassinations of the Qing political figures, you could even count him in as a ‘terrorist’. But I must clarify that I am no supporter of terrorism, for it only fuels more terror in the end. I suppose that during his time and urgency he had to resort to these ways to overthrow a feudal and failing government.

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