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The back of a winter court robe worn by the Emperor

Unknown1736/1795

The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

"The Illustrated Regulations for Ceremonial Paraphernalia of the Present Dynasty" is an illustrated manuscript commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor (r.1736-1795). The main body of the commission began in 1750 and was completed in 1759. It was a conclusion of the Emperor's decade long efforts to regulate the ritual codes and procedures as a means of ruling since his enthronement, and serves as a record of the Emperor's passion for a rigid ritualised life.

As one of the major imperial commissions the book is of monumental scale and collaborative in nature. As many as twenty-seven court painters and calligraphers were working on the commission under five editors-in-chief, Yilu (1695-1767), Jiang Pu (1708-1761), Wang Youdun (1692-1758), Guanbao (?-1776) and He Guozong (?-1766). After editing and further expansion in the ensuing years, the manuscript was printed by the Palace Publications Office in the Wuying Palace in 1766, and it was finally included as part of the Four Treasures imperial library project in 1773. For that purpose seven copies were produced and stored in libraries across the empire. The book consists of six parts - ceremonial vessels, scientific equipments, dress, musical instruments, insignia, and weaponry, containing more than 1300 leaves of illustrations and explanatory texts.

The museum's collection of the manuscript is incomplete. All its leaves, together with those in the British Library, in the National Museums of Scotland and in the National Museum of Ireland, may have been part of the version kept in the Wenyuan Pavilion library in the Yuanming yuan Summer Palace, Beijing.

The page shows a colour illustration of the back of a winter court robe (no.2) worn by the Emperor.

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Details

  • Title: The back of a winter court robe worn by the Emperor
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1736/1795
  • Location Created: Beijing
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 42.3 cm, Width: 41.3 cm, Width: 820 mm The footprint of the manuscript when opened at 820-1896, Depth: 422 mm The footprint of the manuscript when opened at 820-1896, Height: 40 mm The footprint of the manuscript when opened at 820-1896
  • Medium: Ink and colour on silk

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