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The Illustrated History of the Little Shirt…

November 9, 2010

Beiyang Huabao, June 25, 1927
“An Illustrated History of the Development of the Little Shirt, Part 2”
中国小衫沿革图说 (中)
By: 绾香阁主 (Wan xianggezhu)

Below are not word for word translations but summaries of what Wan says about each kind of undergarment…

#4: Moxiong (抹胸): This is another type of moxiong. It is a strip of cloth which encircles the breasts (胸部xiongbu) and in front it has a row of buttons (or you can use the Western style iron deducts.) It binds very tightly because it doesn’t have straps that suspend from the neck like old styles. However some styles can make use of straps. This kind of moxiong is most in vogue in Guangdong.

Yet another reference to Guangdong! While, more likely than not, this style of moxiong actually was popular only in Guangdong but it is a little suspicious that the garment that can bind breasts very tightly is associated with Guangdong and Wan affirms that in the present, the little vest is used. Is Guangdong being portrayed as backward? The earlier Wan piece that included the story about the appeal of undergarments and breast-binding in Guangdong comes to mind, of course.

#5: Banjiemajia (半截马甲 – roughly half cut doublet): This is described as the transitional garment between the moxiong and the “little vest” (xiaomajia 小马甲) – “此为抹胸变化而成半截马甲者, 实为抹胸与小马甲二物间之过度产品” – but it is not seen very often anymore.

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