Manchu Woman's Unofficial Informal Summer Robe, 19th century

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Gauze, the lightest and coolest of all silk fabrics, was typically reserved for summer clothing and outer garments, when warmth was not desired. This robe, typical in its cut of the Empress Dowager’s court, is decorated with a scattered scheme of peonies and butterflies embroidered in counted stitch against a light-green silk plain-weave gauze ground. The white cuffs are embroidered with butterfly and flower designs, the black bands feature embroidered butterflies, magnolias, plum, and peonies, and the pink satin brocade ribbon is patterned with a plum and bamboo design. Together, the peonies, butterflies, and light green color are symbolic of springtime, accumulation of wealth, and high social status.

Manchu Woman's Unofficial Informal Summer Robe
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