Woman's semi-formal court coat

DATE:
19th century
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Silk and metal-wrapped yarns
CLASSIFICATION:
Textiles
DIMENSIONS:
55 1/2 × 73 1/4 in. (140.97 cm × 1 m 86.06 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Arts of Asia
LOCATION:
Not On View
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. Beatrice M. Haggerty
OBJECT NUMBER:
1995.40

General Description

The impressive silk court robes of China represent the potential of clothing and costume to communicate directly both rank and symbolism to an informed audience. High-ranking people at the imperial court of China wore particular types of robes, with designs that signified their status and underlined their position at court. While this silk coat is finely embroidered and glamorous, it is not simply a fashion statement. The squared shape of the sleeve identifies this robe as a woman’s semi-formal court coat. The most important motif is an elegant white crane, whose wings curve gracefully out and down to form a circular emblem within the roundels on the body of the garment. The crane, like other white things, was considered auspicious and symbolized longevity. It was also the insignia for a first-rank civil official. This coat may well have been worn by the wife of an official of that rank.

Excerpt from

  • Carol Robbins, Label text, All the World's a Stage: Celebrating Performance in the Visual Arts, 2009.

Web Resources