Chinese / Robe, Emperor's 12-Symbol / Qing dynasty (1644-1911), 18th centuryChinese
Robe, Emperor's 12-Symbol
Qing dynasty (1644-1911), 18th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Name-CRT: Chinese
Title: Robe, Emperor's 12-Symbol
Title Type: Object name
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1700
Creation End Date: 1799
Creation Date: Qing dynasty (1644-1911), 18th century
Object Type: Costume and Jewelry
Classification Term: Costumes-Embroidered
Materials and Techniques: Silk and metallic thread on silk
Dimensions: 56 5/8 x 63 1/2 in. (143.8 x 161.3 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 54.14.2
Credit Line: Gift of Lewis Einstein, 1954

Official costume in imperial China was highly regulated, and the decorative motifs of court costumes were specific to rank. Among the emblems employed for the emperor's ceremonial robes were the twelve imperial symbols, as seen on this example: sun, moon, constellation, mountain, pair of dragons, bird, cups, water weed, millet, fire, ax, and the symmetrical 'fu' symbol. A bright yellow was reserved for the emperor, but for occasions such as ceremonies performed at the Altar of Heaven, the requisite color was blue. The garment worn for the actual rituals was the more formal court robe ('chao pao'). The dragon robe ('qi fu') was used for the periods of fasting that preceded the ceremony. Except for a few details in black, white, and pale blue silk, this robe is embroidered in very fine gold and silver threads, which are laid in pairs and couched. Besides the imperial symbols, the dragon robe required additional motifs: nine large dragons rendered full face or in profile; and clouds, waves, and mountains symmetrically arranged to represent an orderly universe. This example is further embellished with auspicious 'wan' and 'shou' medallions, Buddhist and Daoist symbols, and bats.

AMICA ID: MMA_.54.14.2
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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