Brown Dragon Robe

In Ching society, costume decoration distinguished specific garments, signaling their wearers prominence within the social and political structures of Chinese ruling class. Decoration conveyed visual codes that could be read by the privileged and educated  for whom this iconography was created.  During the Ching dynasty, uniforms belonged to a small privileged segment of society with power and wealth. In general, there were six groups of imagery based on subject matter: imperial, faunal, figural, floral, scenic and emblematic.  The imperial imagery was based on dragons used as symbols of imperial authority. The dragons are placed within the context of the cosmic landscape-waves, mountains, and clouds (the elements of water, earth, and air). Combined components represented the visible universe.

Floor length garment(chifu) with a front overlap closing to the right, fastened with five loop and gilt metal toggle buttons and one knotted cord toggle button inside front flap, tapered sleeves ending with flared cuffs, front  and back vents.It has been trimmed on sides for a closer fit.

The robe is decorated with a terrestrial landscape featuring nine  five-clawed dragons. Three in front, three in back, two on shoulders and one on inner flap.The edgings and cuffs are embroidered with imperial motifs as well.




Circa: 19th Century

Origin: China

Material: Silk with silk and metal thread embroidery

Condition: Excellent antique condition

Dimensions: 53" x 72"

Inventory number: WR3913



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