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Sleeveless jacket

Sleeveless jacket

  • Place of origin:

    Shanxi (possibly, made)
    Henan (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1875-1911 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidery on black satin weave silk

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Muriel Carpenter in memory of Ebenezer Mann

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This vest, from the late Qing Dynasty (1875 - 1911) would have been worn as a overjacket, over a robe for a woman. The vest as an item of clothing may have developed from the ceremonial vest known as the xiapei.

There is a missionary link to this vest as it was probably brought back from China by a missionary with the China Inland Missionary Society, Ebenezer Mann.

From photographs of women taken in the late 19th to early twentieth century, we know that the ruyi cloud motif was one widely adopted in the design of women's dress then. Interestingly, the clothes depicted in some colour-tinted photographs often match the colours this vest was made in.

Physical description

Woman's sleeveless jacket. Informal Wear. Front fastening with six gilt buttons, small standing collar, sleeveless, short slit at sides and on the back. Blue plain weave lining. Pink silk satin damask ground. All borders are trimmed with a narrow black satin bias cut band, a wider black satin band embroidered in multi-coloured floss silks ( blue, green, pick, purple) in satin stitch and couched work with butterflies and a wide warp-patterned ribbon. (turquoise with purple edges at both sides). On the back and front of the vest, trims form shapes of auspicious ruyi cloud. This waistcoat would have been worn over a dress.

Place of Origin

Shanxi (possibly, made)
Henan (possibly, made)


1875-1911 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Embroidery on black satin weave silk


Length: 70 cm, Width: 64 cm maximum

Object history note

Textile was brought back from China by missionary Ebenezer Mann, who served with the China Inland Missionary Society from 1905 - 1945.

Descriptive line

Sleeveless jacket,Textile, China, embroidery on black satin weave silk, possibly Shanxi, 1875-1911






Textiles; Clothing; Informal wear; Women's clothes


East Asia Collection

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