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Eva Haw & Husband

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Family portraits hold a special place in Chinese culture since family and social harmony is a major tenant of Confucianism. In China, multiple generations often lived in one household with the younger generation taking care of their elders and most Chinese children did not move far from their hometowns. Chinese immigrants to the United States made the difficult decision to leave the support of their families. As the Chinese became more established in the United States, they began to adopt western clothing styles to fit in better with their neighbors. Men were often the first to embrace western styles, since they had a broader public life outside the home. This can be seen in this portrait showing Eva Haw in traditional dress, while her husband is in western dress. By the first decade of the twentieth century, the younger Chinese Americans, including this couple from Tulare County, had left their traditional clothing behind for modern fashions.