AN EMBROIDERED 'MIDNIGHT BLUE' SILK FORMAL COURT ROBE, CHAOFU
AN EMBROIDERED 'MIDNIGHT BLUE' SILK FORMAL COURT ROBE, CHAOFU
AN EMBROIDERED 'MIDNIGHT BLUE' SILK FORMAL COURT ROBE, CHAOFU
AN EMBROIDERED 'MIDNIGHT BLUE' SILK FORMAL COURT ROBE, CHAOFU
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PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE AMERICAN COLLECTION
AN EMBROIDERED 'MIDNIGHT BLUE' SILK FORMAL COURT ROBE, CHAOFU

19TH CENTURY

Details
AN EMBROIDERED 'MIDNIGHT BLUE' SILK FORMAL COURT ROBE, CHAOFU
19TH CENTURY
The robe is worked in couched gold thread and multi-colored satin stitch on the upper half with four five-clawed dragons amidst clouds and Buddhist emblems, all above the terrestrial diagram at the waist, the attached pleated, flared apron similarly worked and joined by a narrow waistband decorated with confronted dragons.
55 ¾ in. (141.6 cm.) long x 77 in. (195.5 cm.) wide
Provenance
In New York prior to the 1980s.

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Olivia Hamilton
Olivia Hamilton

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Lot Essay


The chaofu, or attire of state, is the most important of the ceremonial costumes of the Qing court comprising: chaopao or robe of the state, piling or projecting epaulets, hat, girdle, court necklace, and boots. The two-part construction of chaopao consisted of a short side-fastening jacket attached to a pleated skirt, derived from Ming styles of court dress, and was adapted by the Manchu to incorporate features reflecting their equestrian heritage, such as the curved overlapping right front, a shape derived from animal skins which was added for extra covering and protection; narrow sleeves with their lower portion replaced with ribbed silk, allowing the wearer to bend his arm more easily when hunting; and horse-hoof cuffs, originally intended to protect the hands when riding in bad weather.

The current 'midnight-blue' chaopao is embroidered with four front-facing, five-clawed dragons on the upper body and four five-clawed dragons shown in profile on the skirt, which correspond to the specifications cited in Huangchao liqi tushi (Illustrated Precedents for the Ritual Paraphernalia of the Imperial Court) for a first-rank or second-rank prince.

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