Object: Court gown (jifu)
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|Title||Court gown (jifu)|
Unknown, Late Qing dynasty, late 1800s/early 1900s, China
|Medium summary||Embroidered silk|
|Classification||robes, dressing gowns|
Sleeve Length: 790mm ()
Overall: 2260mm (Width)
|Credit line||Purchased 1926|
During the Qing Dynasty China (1644–1911), it was not warriors who represented the masculine ideal; it was distinguished scholars and court officials.
This jifu (man's semi-formal court gown) was worn for official duties at court. Its design shows a symbolic universe. The diagonal bands and billowing waves represent the ocean. At the centre front, sides, and back are mountains, while nine dragons inhabit the heavens. In Oriental mythology, dragons represent imperial power, wisdom, and strength.
To determine the wearer’s rank, we can count the dragons’ claws. They each have five, so he may have been a high-level official or a member of the Imperial Family.
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