Each of the 6 dragons (chasing the fiery pearl) have 5 toes/claws making it the 'Imperial' dragon with the golden color reinforcing that symbology.
Each of the 6 dragon medallions or badges are finely embroidered on the thinnest and most delicately woven silk brocade - light as air. Fully lined too. Considered a 'summer weight' coat or robe because of the thinness of the silk. Amazingly fine condition to the red silk outer and inner layers. The lining is also of the finest and lightest silk brocade in a completely different pattern. The robe is entirely hand sewn and embroidered. Photos 6 and 7 are intended to show the difference in the underlying red silk patterns on the front and on the lining.
Interestingly the cuffs which feature beautifully embroidered peonies are done in a finely executed satin stitch while one lone large flower on each cuff is entirely forbidden stitched and edged in metallic gold threads. The flowers alone measure about 3 3/4" in diameter. Also interesting is that the silk ribbon near the top edge of the cuff on the right sleeve is woven in a butterfly pattern while the left one is a different pattern. These applied ribbons are the only part of the robe that shows some deterioration. Because there is no other wear on the cuffs, it is curious to think that those ribbons were taken from an even older garment and applied to this one even in the frayed condition. That would indicate that the ribbons were of particular importance in the making of this robe.
Measurements are approximate at 42" length, 24" chest (armpit to armpit) and 15" arm length from armpit to edge of cuff.
19th century. We think it is mid-late 19th century but there is potential for early 19th century.
Putting the various elements together and evaluating the colors, etc. it is possible that this was a wedding robe for a person of the Imperial Court of high rank and might also explain why it was so well-cared for these 150 years or so.
If you should happen to take a look at our many Chinese figurines shown wearing embroidered robes, you will see how similar they are to this one.
It is likely that this robe was kept in a shadow box for display purposes as a small nail was found in the collar when we had it lightly pressed at our dry cleaner (the silk was deemed by the dry cleaner to be too old to risk the dry cleaning process but there are no foul odors or stains).
Everything about this hand embroidered robe oozes quality and exquisite taste. Wearable art for sure. While our other Chinese robes are beautiful, this one is very special on so many levels. We hope you appreciate it too.
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