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Ultramarine Silk Tapestry Dragon Robe with Golden Dragon Motifs Front

Museum of Ethnic Costumes, Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology

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

This dragon robe is mainly made of kesi, a silk tapestry literally meaning “cut silk”, named for the cut-like edges of patterns on the foundation weave. It is woven by cutting the weft threads with a small shuttle, thus creating patterns on both the front and the back. This robe is decorated with motifs featuring dragons with five claws, clouds, bats, sea ripples, etc. The so-called “hoof sleeves”, named after the hoof-shaped cuff, are unique for garments of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911 AD). Also called “arrow sleeves” as they were used to warm the hands when shooting arrows by the Manchu soldiers before the Qing troops entered the Central Plain of China, such kind of sleeves were seen in application for apparel of both men and women throughout the Qing dynasty.

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