A festive Dragon Robe for winter
This illustrated manuscript was commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor (r.1736–1795). It was intended to instil an sense of orderliness among his subjects, and functioned as a meticulous design manual for imperial tailors. The design, colour, symbols and appropriate occasions for wear are described in detail.
The people attending a function all wore the same style of dress, but a person's place in the social hierarchy was revealed by variations in materials used for their clothes, by variations in colour, and by the motifs that embellished the silk's surface.
There were comprehensive descriptions as to what was reserved for the exclusive use of the Emperor, followed – in descending order – by that for members of the imperial family, Manchu noblemen and other state officials.
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