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Robe - Artifacts

Image Robe
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Chinese Court Robe. Chinese Dragon Robe of blue silk with pale yellow silk emb. design of stripes representing water with turbulent waves above (repeated on sleeves), and mountain peaks rising from the water. One 5-clawed dragon among clouds on center chest, two more lower down on each side of central seam. Dragon eyes are filled with black satin stitch. 25" slit along central seams front and back. Open along right side when worn, attached to back by 3 brass buttons attached to loops by safety pins. Black and gold striped lower sleeves; black and gold cloud-and-dragon design on cuffs, neckband, and overlapped (banded in gold). Cuffs and neckband are woven to shape so they can be smoothly applied without teasing or pleating the material to fit the garment curves. Two more buttons fasten at neck and top of side-flap. Dragon robe were worn by elite members of the Chinese bureaucracy. The 5-clawed dragon was reserved for the emperor and his family. Most imperial employees (e.g. magistrates, tax collectors) wore their full dragon ensemble. They continued to be manufactured well into the 20th century for export and tourists long after they ceased to have any societal function. Motifs symbolize "long life, official position, wealth, happiness, and male progeny". Few brownish stains on front. Gold band and braiding tarnished.
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