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Manchu-style Embroidered Royal Blue Satin Padded Cape with Hidden Floral Patterns and Rolled Sleeves Back

Museum of Ethnic Costumes, Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology

Museum of Ethnic Costumes, Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology
Beijing, China

On the folded sleeves, collar, diagonal placket and side slits there are rich edge decorations, which are, from innermost to outermost, white satin strips with floral patterns; black satin bands embellished with motifs of flowers, butterflies and phoenix that are in well-arranged compositions and rich colors, standing out as an interesting contrast to the white strips; and plain black satin tapes.
The motifs of phoenix flying around peony blossoms on the white folded cuffs are in vivid forms and a harmonious palette, revealing the ingenious skills of the crafters. With phoenix the king and queen of birds, and peony the king of all flowers, the combination of the two became a fixed pattern as early as in the Song and Yuan dynasties (960-1368 AD), and reached popularity during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911 AD). It has been most often seen on apparel and accessories for nobilities, conveying people’s wishes for peace and prosperity. The patterns of flowers, butterflies and phoenix are well-positioned with proper density on the black satin strips. The butterflies on apparel of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911 AD) are usually in natural forms but full of liveliness, as crafters during that period attached great importance to depicting butterflies realistically.

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