Dragon robe

Dragon robe
China
Qing dynasty, 2nd half of the 19th cent.
Silk, gold thread ; H.140 cm
Inv. CH.48

 

This type of dragon robe (mang pao) was the official garment of Chinese civil servants during the Qing dynasty. They wore it under a simple jacket, adorned only with a symbol of their rank. The cut is inspired by the traditional Manchu costume, the Qing rulers being of foreign origin. The cuffs in the shape of a horse's hoof also refer to this race of horsemen.

Magnificently executed in silk tapestry (kesi), this robe is ornamented with motifs representing the universe. In the lower part, rocky peaks - symbols of the earth - emerge from an ocean of multicoloured waves; the five-clawed dragon, the image of the emperor, reigns in the sky that streches above. The multiple dragons on the robe play with flaming beads among the clouds, surrounded by symbols of good omen, like the bat, and of wealth, like coral.
 

Discover this masterpiece in the book Masterpieces of the Cinquantenaire Museum.