Emperor's court robe

Unknown1875-1908 (made) - 1908

The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum
London, United Kingdom

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


  • Title: Emperor's court robe
  • Date Created: 1875-1908 (made) - 1908
  • Location Created: China, Zhonghua Zhonghua Renmin Gonghe Guo Asia
  • Type: Robe
  • Rights: Bequeathed by W. Llewellyn Jones
  • External Link: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O71648
  • production: Unknown
  • Place Part Of: Zhonghua Zhonghua Renmin Gonghe Guo Asia
  • More Information: 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 Fu symbol (resembling two Es back to back), the Golden 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. 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.
  • Materials and Techniques: Silk twill ground embroidered with floss silks and metallic thread, lined with silk
  • Dimensions: Length: 146 cm, Width: 218 cm

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