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Embroidered White Satin Garment with Giant Clam Bead Embellishments

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Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Dimensions: Body: 98 cm × 80 cm × 108 cm, shoulder-cape: 120 cm × 94 cm, sleeves: 59 cm × 13 cm

This garment is a Buddhist vestment consisting of a shoulder-cape (or short shawl), the two sleeves, and the body. Each of these four separate parts is made of satin and decorated with embroidery and giant-clam beads. The end of each string of beads is embellished with a gilded copper bell. Raiment of this type was worn by eminent Tibetan Buddhist lamas in religious ceremonies. The four-piece set would have been worn over a robe and matched with a cap and ritual instruments.

This garment and four others of the same design yet with slightly different colors and patterns are kept in the Six Tier Buddhist Sanctuary (Liupin fo lou) in the Forbidden City. The collection of vestments exemplifies the imperial religious belief of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911).

Website version edited by Adam J. Ensign and Zhuang Ying

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