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Anonymous China,
China Anonymous, Chinese
Woman's Domestic Formal Surcoat (waitao), 1870-1890
55 in. x 68 in. (139.7 cm x 172.72 cm)

Object Type: Textile
Technique: Woven
Creation Place: Asia, China
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Colby
Accession Number: 0374

Dusenbury, Mary M. Flowers, Dragons, & Pine Trees: Asian Textiles in the Spencer Museum of Art. New York: Hudson Hills Press, 2004.

Embroidered black satin.

Object Description
Chinese Manchu woman's domestic formal surcoat of black satin, and lined in blue silk. The calf-length garment opens center-front, fastened with four knot-and-loop toggle buttons, and has straight sleeves and squared cuffs. The main decorations, the eight embroidered roundels, contain images of fluttering butterflies amongst flowers, one of which can be identified as the peony. The bottom hem is decorated with lishui, diagonal lines of alternating colors representing the depth of the ocean, which is a common decoration that found in formal garments. Waves crash against a central mountain. Auspicious symbols mingle discretely within the waves. The sleeves are also framed with shallow lishui and clouds. Aniline purple, a highly prized purple imported from Europe in the early 1860s, is intermittently used in the lishui lines and butterfly embroideries.
- Jasmine Kim, 2009 Getty Summer Intern, PO '11

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