Online Collection

Collections



Asian Art Museum Logo
Emperor's dragon robe
清朝 金絲彩織﹑手繪填彩 龍文萬壽雜寶紋夾龍袍
Place of Origin: China
Date: approx. 1700-1800
Historical Period: Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Object Name: Costume
Materials: Cut silk (kesi) and gold thread
Dimensions: H. 55 in x W. 81 3/4 in, H. 139.7 cm x W. 207.6 cm
Credit Line: Transfer from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of B. Rosenberg
Department: Chinese Art
Collection: Textiles
Object Number: 1996.5
On Display: No

Description

Label: Nine dragon images are distributed over the surface of this robe, eight of them visible and the ninth hidden when the garment is wrapped around the body. Scattered on the background are stylized lotus blossoms and foliage as well as a fan, fly whisk, sword, crutch, fish drum, wooden clappers, basket, lotus, and flute—symbolic implements of the Eight Daoist Immortals who confer longevity. In the center is a representation of a jade qing, an L-shaped musical instrument symbolizing celebration. An image of peach trees laden with fruit emerging from a rock in an ocean appears near the bottom of the robe. The presence of these "peaches of immortality" and the attributes of the Eight Immortals indicate that this robe would have been worn by the emperor on his birthday.

More Information

Exhibition History: "Hidden Gold: Mining its Meaning in Asian Art", Asian Art Museum, March 4, 2016-May 8, 2016
Additional Label:

This Chinese emperor’s robe, lavishly worked in gold thread, contains imagery intended to signify the unique status of its wearer. The dragon is an emblem of the emperor; there are nine dragons on this robe. Since the number nine is associated with both emperor and dragon, the robe connects the two both visually and numerically.

Another important function of imperial Chinese imagery was to emphasize the emperor’s position at the central axis of the cosmos. This location is marked by a peach tree emerging from a rock at the center of the cosmic ocean. Peach trees are images of immortality in Chinese culture, and a group of Daoist Immortals appear here in their symbolic forms of fan, fly whisk, sword, crutch, fish drum, wooden clappers, basket, lotus, and flute. The message is clear: royalty and divinity are not far removed from one another.

(Label from Exhibition Hidden Gold: Mining Its Meaning in Asian Art)


Label: Nine dragon images are distributed over the surface of this robe, eight of them visible and the ninth hidden when the garment is wrapped around the body. Scattered on the background are stylized lotus blossoms and foliage as well as a fan, fly whisk, sword, crutch, fish drum, wooden clappers, basket, lotus, and flute—symbolic implements of the Eight Daoist Immortals who confer longevity. In the center is a representation of a jade qing, an L-shaped musical instrument symbolizing celebration. An image of peach trees laden with fruit emerging from a rock in an ocean appears near the bottom of the robe. The presence of these "peaches of immortality" and the attributes of the Eight Immortals indicate that this robe would have been worn by the emperor on his birthday.
Exhibition History: "Hidden Gold: Mining its Meaning in Asian Art", Asian Art Museum, March 4, 2016-May 8, 2016
Expanded Label:

This Chinese emperor’s robe, lavishly worked in gold thread, contains imagery intended to signify the unique status of its wearer. The dragon is an emblem of the emperor; there are nine dragons on this robe. Since the number nine is associated with both emperor and dragon, the robe connects the two both visually and numerically.

Another important function of imperial Chinese imagery was to emphasize the emperor’s position at the central axis of the cosmos. This location is marked by a peach tree emerging from a rock at the center of the cosmic ocean. Peach trees are images of immortality in Chinese culture, and a group of Daoist Immortals appear here in their symbolic forms of fan, fly whisk, sword, crutch, fish drum, wooden clappers, basket, lotus, and flute. The message is clear: royalty and divinity are not far removed from one another.

(Label from Exhibition Hidden Gold: Mining Its Meaning in Asian Art)