Theatrical Costume of a Young Woman
From troupes based within the forbidden city to traveling ones touring the countryside, theater was a very popular pastime in Ching dynasty China. Chinese theater is a mix of opera, dance and drama. The female roles are played by males and the characters are generally stereotype. As there is usually only minimal scenery, the makeup and the costumes are crucial in identifying the characters.Because of that and as theatrical costumes were not regulated they usually exhibit a freedom of design and construction not found in official dress.This robe simulates unofficial festive attire or a wedding robe. The multiple yolks and sleeves are elaborations of unofficial jackets while the lappets and pendant apron of the skirt are based on wedding skirt motifs. The high quality embroidery is done in multiple techniques such as satin stitch, counted stitch, French knot and couching for the metallic thread. The delicate patterned silk lining suggest that this costume is possibly from an imperial lineage.For a related example, see “Imperial Silks, Ching Dynasty Textiles in the Minneapolis Institute of Art” volume I page 453.
Circa: second half 20th century
Material: Satin silk ground with silk and metallic thread embroidery, metal studs and silk tassels
Condition: Some frayed edges. Minor loss to metallic thread embroidery, even fading to some colors, mostly the browns, shattering to lining around the neck, Generally good
Dimensions: 60"h x 63"w
Inventory number: WR3749