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Imperial Ceremonial Summer Robe with Dragon

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Qing Dynasty, 19th century ChinaSilk gauze H 137 cm; W 204 cm

This light gown made of silk gauze with golden and coloured embroidery was worn in summer exclusively by members of the imperial family. It is decorated with imperial emblems such as the five-clawed dragon. The depiction of nine five-clawed dragons symbolise perfection and refer to the emperor’s absolute claim to power. Numerous lucky charms such as peaches and bats stand for a long life. The cuffs are shaped like horses’ hooves, a detail that was copied from the clothes of the Manchus, an ethnic group of people known for their love of horses, who ruled China from 1645 until 1911.