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Bright Yellow Silk-Gauze Imperial Court Robe with the Twelve Symbols and Gold Dragons among Polychrome Clouds

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Period: Qianlong reign (1736-1795), Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Dimensions: Body length: 143 cm; sleeve span: 190 cm; cuff width: 17 cm; lower-hem width: 156 cm

This imperial robe has a round collar, left-over-right lapel, horse-hoof cuffs, and collar-shawl (pi ling) and is embellished with silk embroidery of the Twelve Symbols (shier zhang), namely motifs of the sun, moon, stars, mountain, dragon, pheasant, ax head, symmetrical fu, pair of cups, aquatic plants, flames, and rice with interspersed polychrome clouds. The lower part of the garment is decorated with the Eight Treasures of Buddhism among a water design. The edging features floral designs in gold thread. The robe is to be worn with a court necklace with two dangling pendants on the back.

According to the Qing-dynasty (1644–1911) regulations for attire, the emperor was to wear a bright yellow summer court robe on the fifteenth or twenty-fifth day of the third lunar month. This yellow garment was such a formal summer robe worn by the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736–1795) for major ceremonies and sacrificial rituals.

Website version edited by Adam J. Ensign and Zhuang Ying

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