• Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works  auction at Christies

    Sale 2196

    Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections

    15 September 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 269

    A VERY RARE GOLD, SILVER AND RED KESI 'AUSPICIOUS' INFORMAL COURT ROBE FOR A WOMAN, JIFUPAO

    MID-19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A VERY RARE GOLD, SILVER AND RED KESI 'AUSPICIOUS' INFORMAL COURT ROBE FOR A WOMAN, JIFUPAO
    MID-19TH CENTURY
    Finely woven on the front and back with eight dragon roundels, each roundel worked with a pair of archaistic dragons confronting a large central shou character and a bat, the dragons superimposed on a background of clustered clouds interspersed with bats chasing wan emblems, finely woven in four colors of gold and silver against a bright red ground, all above the terrestrial diagram and lishui stripe at the hem, with facings and cuffs woven in black with similar design of dragons and clouds, within gold couched and blue and gold brocade bands, with black brocade sleeve extensions
    54¾ in. (139 cm.) long x 73¼ in. (186 cm.) wide


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    The symbolism of bats, wan emblems and shou (longevity) characters combined with the red color of this robe indicate that it might have been made for an auspicious occasion, such as a birthday. The five bats in each roundel represent the Five Blessings (a long life, riches, health, love of virtue, and a peaceful death). They also form the rebus Wufu qingshou (five bats extend good wishes on one's birthday).

    A related woman's red kesi robe woven with eight medallions of plum blossoms, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum, and with wider sleeves, dated to the Daoguang period is in the Qing Court collection, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 51 - Costumes and Accessories of the Qing Court, Hong Kong, 2005, pp. 178-9, no. 109.

    See, also, a blue kesi dragon robe of the same date, also woven with this unusual and striking combination of multi-colored metallic threads, sold Christie's, New York, The Imperial Wardrobe, Fine Chinese Costume and Textiles from the Linda Wrigglesworth Collection, 19 March 2008, lot 27.