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Emperor's court robe

Emperor's court robe

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    1875-1908 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk twill ground embroidered with floss silks and metallic thread, lined with silk

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by W. Llewellyn Jones

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    China, Room 44, The T.T. Tsui Gallery, case 31

Physical description

Formal court robe for an emperor known as chaopao. This is a full length robe with a fully gathered skirt. It is right-side fastening with gilt buttons. It has long and tight sleeves with horse-hoof cuffs. The skirt is pleated at waist level.

The robe has a yellow twill (2/1) ground embroidered with floss silks and gilt threads in satin stitch and couched work. The robe bears the ‘twelve symbols’: the Sun and Moon discs are on shoulders. The three star Constellation and the Mountain are at neck level. The Axe Head, the Fusymbol (resembling two Es back to back), the Pheasant and the Dragon are on the upper part of the garment. The pair of Sacrificial Cups, the Flames, the Waterweed and the Grains are on the skirt band.

The garment has a yellow silk plain weave lining throughout.

Place of Origin

China (made)


1875-1908 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Silk twill ground embroidered with floss silks and metallic thread, lined with silk


Length: 146 cm, Width: 218 cm

Object history note

Formerly in the Vuilleumier collection.

Yellow court robes would have been worn by the Qing emperors on special occasions such as sacrifice at the Altar of Earth, New Year day and the emperor's birthday. The shade of yellow, known as 'bright yellow' or 'imperial yellow', was reserved for the emperor, the empress and the empress dowager only.

Descriptive line

Emperor's formal court robe of embroidered silk twill, China, 1875-1908

Production Note

Guangxu Emperor's reign


Textiles; Men's clothes; Formal wear; Embroidery


East Asia Collection

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