The design of this robe reveals the development of early Qing dynasty court robes. The treatment of Ming dynasty longpao, or dragon robe decorative strategies emphasized the large dragons on the upper sections of the robes. Qing dynasty tastes placed more or less equal emphasis on the dragons, giving them prominence in the overall design scheme. On this robe the two lower dragons are comparatively much larger than on the Ming versions but still noticeably smaller than the central upper dragon. The sleeves and cuffs are made from the same material as the robe. By the mid-eighteenth century different fabrics would be used for the sleeve extensions and cuffs as illustrated in Huangchao liqi tushi , Illustrated Precedents for the Ritual Paraphernalia of the Imperial Court, which was compiled in 1759 and enforced in 1766. The simple binding at the neck and small gilt buttons are also typical of early eighteenth century robes.
There are few surviving examples of Qing imperial dragon robes dated to the early eighteenth century. Compare a blue dragon robe dated to the first quarter of the eighteenth century in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, illustrated by John E. Vollmer in Ruling From The Dragon Throne, Berkeley/Toronto, 2002, p. 100, fig. 4.18. Another robe in ivory, dated to the early eighteenth century in the Chris Hall Collection is illustrated in Power Dressing: Textile for Rulers and Priests from the Chris Hall Collection, Singapore, 2006, p.136, fig. 19. Other examples include a chestnut brown robe illustrated by John E. Vollmer in the exhibition catalogue Five Colours of the Universe, Edmonton Art Gallery, 7 November 1980-11 January 1981, pp. 20-21, and a pale blue example, illustrated by Judith Rutherford and Jackie Menzies in Celestial Silks, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2004, p. 65, fig. 31, now in a private collection in Melbourne.