Procession attire of the Qianlong Emperor Front view

Musée de l'Armée - Hôtel des Invalides

Musée de l'Armée - Hôtel des Invalides
Paris, France

Procession attire of the Chinese Qianlong Emperor (1736–1796). Piece of formal attire referred to as war attire worn by the Emperor during the luxuriant military processions organized in the courtyard of the imperial residence. The Son of Heaven is the supreme leader of the Manchurian army, the Troops of the Eight Banners, essentially formed of Tatars and Mongols who commanded the Troops of the Green Flag, the Chinese army that led the rallied educated men to the new overseas dynasty. Small metal strips are attached to the inside of the silk fabric, which is embroidered in yellow, the imperial color of the Manchurians. This protective clothing appears to be the final transformation of an ancestral technique inherited from steppe traditions. In an equestrian portrait, kept in the Forbidden City, painted by Father Castiglione upon the occasion of a large military procession organized in 1758, the Qianlong Emperor is wearing this equipment.
It is made up of three tunics, layered one over the other. The second tunic is armed with gilded steel blades. The pauldrons, each made of two steel blades, decorated with dragons in golden filigree, increasing protection for the chest. The conical helmet, covered with golden ornamentation mixed with precious stones (emeralds, tourmalines, pearls) has a large pearl at its peak, along with a plume made of bands of black sable. It has a neck cover and ear covers made of silk, which are patterned and embroidered. The shin guards, constructed with transversal gilded steel blades, are decorated on their lower section with figures of the imperial dragon in imperial filigree. The yellow color, which is the background of the clothing, is only worn in China by the Emperor's family.


  • Title: Procession attire of the Qianlong Emperor Front view
  • Date Created: Ca. 1758
  • Location Created: China
  • Physical Dimensions: 0,80 (w) x 2,20 (h) m
  • Subject Keywords: Broderie, Embroidery, Feather, Dragon
  • Type: Habit
  • Rights: Photo (C) Paris - Musée de l'Armée, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Emilie Cambier / Pascal Segrette
  • Medium: Acier, Or, Soie, Velours, Laiton, Fourrure, Pierreries
  • Inventory: 2018.0.172

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