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URL: web-kiosk.scrippscollege.edu/objects-1/info/19232

Anonymous China,
China Anonymous, Chinese
Woman's K'essu Domestic Formal Robe (pao), 1880-1890
Silk thread on Red silk
54 1/2 in. x 73 1/2 in. (138.4 cm x 186.69 cm)


Object Type: Textile
Technique: Woven
Creation Place: Asia, China
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Colby
Accession Number: T322


Medium
Kesi silks.

Object Description
Manchu woman’s domestic wear from the late 19th century. Red plain-weave silk, decorated with silk tapestry. Lined on the inside with bright blue plain-weave silk. Heavily quilted for winter wear. Closes in front with the left flap crossing over to the right, clasped by brass buttons which seem to be later additions. Neck/collar lining is a weft-faced weave in a flowery pattern.

The main body of the robe is decorated with eight tapestry roundels. Each appears to have been weaved from the same tapestry pattern, although half of them are flipped horizontally and have subtle color variations—easy ways to alter tapestry designs to make them more interesting. The roundels each depict the same image: that of an adult lion with a globe under his right paw and a playful cub in front of him. Two bats of varying colors swoop overhead, bearing swastikas with knotted edges. All around the creatures, flowers abound. Peonies, bamboo leaves, fungi, camellia, plum blossoms, and more burst into bloom at the edges of the scene. Very prominently displayed are a pair of peaches and a pair of pomegranates of variable color, which hang above the lions’ heads. On the cuffs and collar of the robe, the lions continue to play, wrestling with their globes as swastika-bearing bats fly and peaches hang overhead. The common imperial image of waves and mountains presides over the bottom of the robe; the Eight Buddhist Precious Objects float in the waves.

The lions represent guardians to ensure the wearer’s safety, the swastika-bearing bats symbolize a wish for a multiplication of blessings, the peaches symbolize immortality, and the pomegranates fertility.

- Written by Rebecca Yankes, Monserrat '11, Fall 2008; edited by Patricia Yu, Pomona '09, Getty Summer Intern, August 2008.

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Your current search criteria is: Portfolio is "Robes" and [Objects]Century is "19th c".