Robe thumbnail 1
Robe thumbnail 2
+5
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Robe

possibly 1821-1850 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This type of robe is called a jifu, an 'Auspicious' Robe. It functions as a type of semi-formal court robe for a woman, and the turquoise colour suggests this may have been worn by an imperial consort of a lower rank.

In general, in the court system of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), a more limited dress-code appeared to have been available for women ranking down from the Empress and Imperial Consorts to wives of officers of the Seventh rank. (Men had a range of court dress for specific occasions). Not all Imperial robes will be ornamented with the symbol of the dragon, as this one demonstrates. Even the Emperor's wives and concubines did not necessarily always wear robes decorated with dragons. Women also had sets of clothes made for auspicious celebrations such as weddings or the birthdays of older wearers, and the clothes made for these occasions were worn for future events of importance.However, most formal imperial attire will bear the signature motif of the multi-layered rocks emerging from a sea of many-coloured waters.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Silk embroidery on twill weave silk
Brief description
Manchu woman's semi-formal robe (jifu), silk embroidery on twill weave silk, China, Qing dynasty, possibly 1821-1850, reign of the Daoguang Emperor.
Physical description
Manchu woman's semi-formal robe (jifu). Right side fastening with four gilt buttons, long and wide sleeves, wide horsehoof cuffs, full-length garment. Blue silk damask lining with self-patterned motifs of swastikas and sprays of flowers in rows..

Turquoise-green silk twill ground embroidered in floss silks (red, pink, blue, green, pale blue, white, grey, black, salmon pink, turquoise etc.) in satin and Peking knot stitch and couched work with eight large roundels (batuan) containing flowers, peonies, chrysanthemum etc. single flower sprays and large butterflies scattered on the ground. The hem is embroidered with three-peaked mountains amid waves and below the deep water (lishui). The neck, front flap and matixiu cuffs are trimmed with a dark blue silk band embroidered in multi coloured floss silks with flowers.

The combination of a batuan (eight roundels) composition and the lishui border at the hem indicates a formal wear and here probably a political or imperial association of the wearer.
Dimensions
  • Length: 136cm
  • Width: 207cm
Style
Credit line
Purchased with Art Fund support
Object history
Registered File number 1947/374. From the collection of Bernard Vuilleumier.
Production
The wide cut and roomy sleeves joined to wide sleeve cuffs is a design feature which appeared during the reign of the Daoguang Emperor.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This type of robe is called a jifu, an 'Auspicious' Robe. It functions as a type of semi-formal court robe for a woman, and the turquoise colour suggests this may have been worn by an imperial consort of a lower rank.



In general, in the court system of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), a more limited dress-code appeared to have been available for women ranking down from the Empress and Imperial Consorts to wives of officers of the Seventh rank. (Men had a range of court dress for specific occasions). Not all Imperial robes will be ornamented with the symbol of the dragon, as this one demonstrates. Even the Emperor's wives and concubines did not necessarily always wear robes decorated with dragons. Women also had sets of clothes made for auspicious celebrations such as weddings or the birthdays of older wearers, and the clothes made for these occasions were worn for future events of importance.However, most formal imperial attire will bear the signature motif of the multi-layered rocks emerging from a sea of many-coloured waters.
Collection
Accession number
T.209-1948

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

Record createdDecember 10, 2002
Record URL
Download as: JSONIIIF Manifest