Origin of the Tribe
The Qahar tribe was seen as the political center and nominal suzerain of the Mongolian region from the era of Dayan Khan (r. 1479-1516) until the beginning of the Qing Dynasty. The tribe rose to power during the reign of Ligdan Khan (r. 1604-1634), who engaged in multiple wars with the Later Jin regime for the purpose of unifying all Mongolian clans. His mission was ultimately futile and he failed in 1634. In the following decades after his death, remnants of the tribe migrated to the outskirts of Xuanhua and Datong, reorganized themselves into the Qahar Eight Banners and began to inhabit the southeast of Ulaanqab and the south of Xiliin Gol League of modern Inner Mongolia.
Features of the Clothing
Qahar costumes are generally known for being simple, exquisite and elegant. The number of borders spans from one to three. The hems of the robes are seldom bordered, nor are the slits or the horse-hoof sleeves. Monocolor serves as the main tone of the robes: men usually wear sky blue, dark blue, brown or dark purple ones while women prefer light blue, grass green and dark green. Married women usually wear single bordered robes and long waistcoats in dark colors with the edges made of brocade or colorful belts. In winter, men usually wear windproof hats made of fox or sheep skin while women have round brimmed hats and white hairbands in summer. Light and comfortable, Qahar headgear is mostly inlayed with gilded flower shaped panels, which is different from the silver ones of other tribes. Both embroidered with Mongolian style patterns on shafts, leather boots with round toes and cloth boots constitute the major part of Qahar footwear.
In general, Qahar costumes have narrow hems. Men usually tie their waistbands around their hips to hold up their robes while women tie their girdles around waists to show off their silhouettes. Blue robes are often matched with contrasting pink waistbands. When wearing headgear, women separate their hair into two braids. Long waistcoats, the same as those of most other tribes, are signature garments for married women.
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