Zhuang Ceremonial Outfit
Natural indigo-dye has a long history in China, dating back to the Qin and Han dynasties ( 2nd century BC ). In the Chinese language, any plant that can be used to extract indigo is named as “Lan Cao” (literally “blue plants”). The cloth dyed by these plants always retains a faint fragrant smell and is naturally mothproof. Blue is the most prevalent color of official dragon robes but as it was a relatively inexpensive dye to produce its usage by lower class was quite common.
This ceremonial costume from south west China is comprised of a long sleeve jacket and a pleated skirt.The jacket has a band collar with polychrome braiding. Flower form buckle closure, filigree buttons and loop closures all decorated with silver metal domes impressed with flower heads. The long sleeves are tapered and decorated in tie-dye technique. The narrow cuffs are blue with banded trim and the bottom of the jacket is a demi-lune hem. The matching skirt has a yoke of gauged gathers set in a blue indigo waistband which is pieced to a pleated circle skirt with cotton indigo lining. The glazing of the cotton is achieved by a coating it in pigs blood or egg white mixture.
Circa: 1st half of 20th century
Origin: Southwest China
Dimensions: Sleeve 22" Jacket Length 20", Skirt W 24", L 31"
Inventory number: WR3918