Coat of solid needlepoint with swastika fret dipaer in yellow and white against which are embroidered peonies in three shades of blue. Wide sleeves with wide band of needlepoint bearing pink peonies against a background of blue leaves on a pale pink ground. Above, a band of black satin embroidered with butterflies and peonies in shades of lbue in satin and knot stitch. Collar-band and complete border of same. Coat slit at sides and lined with thin blue silk.

Manchu Woman's Unofficial Informal Robe, 19th century

Unknown artist, expand_more

Embroidered silk gauzeexpand_more

The John R. Van Derlip Fundexpand_more  42.8.102

Not on Viewexpand_more

Designed for a young woman, this robe features a yellow scheme composed of a grid pattern with a scattered design of blue peonies against a white ground. The cuffs are embroidered with a multicolored peony scroll pattern, while the front, side, and cuff bands are embroidered with seasonal flowers, including grass orchid, peony, and plum, with bats and cicadas against a black ground. The yellow grid pattern features swastikas, a symbol adopted by Germany’s Nazi (National Socialist) party in 1920. In this example, however, many years before that negative association, the symbol creates a pun of sorts. Pronounced “wan” in Chinese, it sounds like “ten thousand.” The swastika ground can be seen as a multiplier of the wealth and honor represented by the flowers times ten thousand.

Details
Title
Manchu Woman's Unofficial Informal Robe
Role
Artist
Dimension
L.54-3/4 x W.51-1/4 in.
Accession Number
42.8.102
Curator Approved

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Coat of solid needlepoint with swastika fret dipaer in yellow and white against which are embroidered peonies in three shades of blue. Wide sleeves with wide band of needlepoint bearing pink peonies against a background of blue leaves on a pale pink ground. Above, a band of black satin embroidered with butterflies and peonies in shades of lbue in satin and knot stitch. Collar-band and complete border of same. Coat slit at sides and lined with thin blue silk.