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: Imperial Noblewoman’s Summer Surcoat

Imperial Noblewoman’s Summer Surcoat

Type
Robe
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, Daoguang reign, 1821-1850
Medium
Silk gauze with silk and metallic thread embroidery
Dimension(s)
H x W: 135.3 x 145.7 cm (53 1/4 x 57 3/8 in)
Geography
China, Suzhou, Hangzhou, or Nanjing
Credit Line
Purchase — funds provided by an anonymous donor
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1992.7
Label
Surcoats such as this were worn by women of the imperial household, including consorts and wives of high-ranking imperial nobles. The simple construction of the coat is ideal to display pictorial insignia of rank, such as the dragon roundels here. Both the total number of roundels and the number of the dragons' claws indicate the wearer's rank at court. The five-clawed dragons seen here are a special imperial privilege. Coats such as this were worn over floor-length court robes to add greater formality to the costume.

From about 1930 to 1990
Unknown collector, California, from about 1930 [1]

From 1990 to 1992
Linda Wrigglesworth, London, purchased at auction, Butterfield's Auction House, San Francisco, November 1990 [2]

From 1992
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, purchased from Linda Wrigglesworth in 1992

Notes:

[1] According to Linda Wrigglesworth, Chinese Costume and Textiles, London, who purchased the robe at Butterfield's Auction House in San Francisco in November 1990, Butterfield's representative Dessa Goddard stated that the robe was consigned by an elderly California woman who had had the robe in her possession for approximately sixty years (see Provenance Remark 1, J. Stuart, 1992, in the object record).

[2] See note 1.

Former owner
Linda Wrigglesworth
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Costume and Textile
Keyword(s)
China, couching, counted thread embroidery, Daoguang reign (1821 - 1850), dragon, embroidery, gauze, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911)
Collection(s) Area
Chinese Art
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum






We are excited to reopen the Freer in October 2017, following a renovation to allow us to better present our art and serve our visitors. The Sackler remains open, with a full lineup of exhibitions and events both in the museum and around DC. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.