Theatrical Daoist Priest Robe
Chinese theatrical costume differ from court wear in few ways- the motifs are larger as to be viewed from a distance,the lining is not silk but rather more sturdy material as befits multiple and heavy usage, freedom of dictates of protocol as to who gets to wear what, appliqué embroidery rather than on-ground embroidery.
Daoist priests traditionally wore two types of robes- a jiangyi, which is a sleeveless poncho-like garment, and a daopao, which is this piece. The jiangyi was worn by higher ranking priests.
This robe is likely a theatrical costume, most interestingly due to inconsistencies in the symbolism. While the shape is a daopao, the usual temple imagery on the back is replaced by a framed crane that resembles a rank badge. The crane is surrounded by seven of the eight auspicious symbols in Buddhism. Other symbols decorate the embroidered borders of the robe, such as another crane, a deer, and florals. It appears that at one some point a production called for so eight roundels were attached to the blue ground, but they have since been removed.
Circa: Circa 1900
Material: Silk and Metallic Thread
Condition: Some fading to blue silk ground, Good
Dimensions: 83" x 55"
Inventory number: WR3984