Women’s Robes

Dowager Empress Cixi Blue Informal Robe
Qing Dynasty
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Dowager Empress Cixi Kesi-Kossu Robe
Qing Dynasty
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Ceremonial Red Kesi-Kossu Robe with Eight Rondels
Qing Dynasty
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Walnut Brocade Informal Robe
Qing Dynasty
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Ceremonial Robe with Peony Medallions
Qing Dynasty
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Manchu Fuchsia Ao Short Robe and Vest Xiape
Qing Dynasty
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Winter Manchu Silk Brocade Silver Grey Robe
Qing Dynasty
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Informal Manchu Womans Aubergine Robe
Qing Dynasty
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Aubergine Robe with Collar, Belt and Purses
Qing Dynasty
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Manchu Informal Womens Blue kesi-Kossu Robe
Qing Dynasty
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Straits Crimson Silk Women’s Robe
Qing Dynasty
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Taffeta Silk Pink Robe
Early Republic
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Informal Women’s Purple Silk Robe
Early Republic
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Manchu Pale Green Short Ao Robe
Qing Dynasty
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Silk Padded Winter Women’s Robe
Qing Dynasty
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Tibetan Silk Brocade Woven Purple Chuba
Qing Dynasty
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Tibetan Chuba Coral Silk Woven Brocade
Qing Dynasty
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Dowager Empress Cixi Blue Informal Robe

Qing Dynasty | Sold

Qing Dynasty Dowager Empress Cixi informal blue silk robe. The large eight phoenix, are worked with real gold thread, in couching stitch. Sixteen large embroidered satin stitch peonies, for prosperity also adorn the robe. The trim around the robe features small flowers on a lavender background. Finished with a silk yellow lining and brass carved buttons. The colours Lavender and blue, and the peonies for prosperity were favourites of the Empress. The Dowager Empress Cixi was five foot two inches and this robe being 132cm is her correct robe fitting.
Purchased for a world record price in 1983 Sotheby's Auction in New York Sold to Cecile Mactaggrt who has donated it to the Museum of the University of Alberta in Canada. Another Informal robe made for The Dowager Empress Cixi in her 132cm length is in the Metropolitan  Museum of Art New York.


Dowager Empress Cixi Kesi-Kossu Robe

Qing Dynasty | Sold

Qing Dynasty Dowager Empress Cixi  Lavender Kossu-Kesi informal woven robe, with turquoise flowers adorning  the robe. Shou characters, bats, swords and chrysanthemums, all Symbols of long life are woven on the body field, and in smaller versions on the contrasting kesi black trim. Finished with a silk yellow lining and five brass carved buttons.  The colours Lavender and turquoise-blue were known to be the  Dowager Empress Cixi’s favourite colours. The  Dowager Empress Cixi was five foot two inches and this robe being 132cm is her correct robe fitting.
An Informal Dowager Empress Cixi robe that I purchased for a world record price in 1983 at a Sotheby's Auction in New York Was sold to Cecile Mactaggrt who has donated it to the Museum of the University of Alberta in Canada. Another Informal robe made for The Dowager Empress Cixi in her special cut and 132cm length is in the Metropolitan  Museum of Art New York.  Note: The technique of weaving kesi-kossu, or cut silk, named because it created the appearance of cut threads, arranged in unbroken blocks of colour.One artisan I watched making a kesi robe in Suzhou had been working on it for six years.


Ceremonial Red Kesi-Kossu Robe with Eight Rondels

Qing Dynasty | Sold

Qing Dynasty Ceremonial red silk kesi woven robe, eight large floral, and butterfly medallions, with six further smaller ones on the large horseshoe sleeve cuffs. The lishui wave border is woven with twelve bat rondels in the waves. The border is topped with dancing waves anchored by a central mountain. Fastened with five brass gold buttons.
The technique of weaving kesi-kossu,or cut silk, named because it created the appearance of cut threads, arranged in unbroken blocks of colour. One artisan I watched making a kesi robe had been working on it for six years. The colour red was seldom used in the Qing Dynasty as it was a reminder of the Ming courts favourite colour. 


Walnut Brocade Informal Robe

Qing Dynasty | Sold

Brocade Robe the ground woven with small Butterflies. The black silk ruyi trim and border is worked with tiny blue flowers.When one sleeve cuff is turned back it reveals the hidden small embroidered leopard denoting the first rank of her husband.
This robe belonged to the last Foreign Ambassador Li Hongzhang in English and Marquess Suyi. A Chinese statesman general and diplomat of the late Qing Dynasty. He made strenuous efforts to modernize China. 1823-1901


Ceremonial Robe with Peony Medallions

Qing Dynasty | Sold

Qing Dynasty the robe field has large medallion embroideries that are filled with rebus symbols for longevity, butterflies and shou characters. The peonies in the rondels and on the sleeves are for riches and honour symbolising wealth. Both age and wealth were respected in the traditional family. The embroidered  lishu wave border has nine bats the number nine and the bats also representing longevity and eternity. With all these longevity symbols it could be a special birthday robe.  The large yellow cloud collar with embroidered peonies is an addition to the robe, so are the six piece swinging yellow set on the waist, for coins, fan holder, perfumes, and tobacco.  The colour red was seldom used in the Qing Dynasty as it was too much of a reminder of the Ming courts favourite colour.
Sold 1984 to Bernardo Bertolucci for “The Last Emperor”.


Manchu Fuchsia Ao Short Robe and Vest Xiape

Qing Dynasty | Sold

Qing Dynasty Manchu woven fuchsia and silver long vest, the silk body, bordered on the right side opening with black flower embroidered trim. The winter short robe, padded with silk floss, has the wide featured Manchu sleeves, and wide embroidered borders, two of ribbons, and one of fine embroidery, of tiny butterflies and flowers on black satin silk. Fastened with brass buttons. 
Sold 1984 to Bernardo Bertolucci for “The Last Emperor”.


Winter Manchu Silk Brocade Silver Grey Robe

Qing Dynasty | Sold

Qing Dynasty silver grey winter brocade woven robe, with a rabbit fur lining. Fastened with gold carved brass buttons. Under the robe is worn a green silk floss padded silk qipao.


Informal Manchu Womans Aubergine Robe

Qing Dynasty | Sold

The border of black satin silk, trimmed with tiny floral embroidery on the side ruji, neck and collar, and sleeve bands. Finished with a woven ribbon trim. Five carved brass buttons fasten the robe.
Sold 1984 to Bernardo Bertolucci for “The Last Emperor”.


Aubergine Robe with Collar, Belt and Purses

Qing Dynasty | Sold

Qing Dynasty Women's aubergine Robe, worn with a green silk vest, with a large red and yellow cloud collar with hanging  tassels. The six piece purse set on the  belt around the waist for coins, fan, perfumes and tobacco.


Manchu Informal Womens Blue kesi-Kossu Robe

Qing Dynasty | Sold

Manchu Women's Royal Blue kesi  Robe. The full robe is woven with small stylised butterflies, flying in many directions. The kesi border trim is also woven with tiny butterflies on a contrasting cream background. A ribbon trim highlights the final trim border feature. Five carved brass buttons fasten the robe.
Note: The technique of weaving kesi-kossu, or cut silk, named because it created the appearance of cut threads, arranged in unbroken blocks of colour. One artisan I watched making a kesi robe had been working on it for six years.


Straits Crimson Silk Women’s Robe

Qing Dynasty | Sold

QIng Dynasty Straits, Malay peninsular, Crimson Robe. The multi exotic patterned extroverted trims, created by the adventurous Babas and Nyonyas the Chinese who left China at the end of the Qing Dynasty for the Straits of Malaya. The main field is covered with birds, butterflies and flowers. The Straits skirt is heavily couched with six pounds of gold used for the padded dragons and lishu wave border.


Taffeta Silk Pink Robe

Early Republic | Sold

Republic Informal Women's pink silk taffeta Robe.Bordered with narcissi, and  peonies embroidered in turquoise, and pinks. Two more borders of woven  ribbon and a figure of eight  blue piping. The sleeve bands in Ivory silk with pink peonies. The high stiff Chinese collar completes the high fashion look of the Shanghai 1890’s.
Sold 1984 to Bernardo Bertolucci for “The Last Emperor”.


Informal Women’s Purple Silk Robe

Early Republic | Sold

Qing Dynasty Informal purple silk robe, embellished with embroidered turquoise and pink flowers, and butterflies. The wide border trim has smaller flowers, and butterflies, on a black satin background. The final trim is a woven ribbon emphasising the shaping of the ruji sides and collar. Five carved brass buttons fasten the robe. The high stiff Chinese collar completes the high fashion look of the Shanghai 1890’s.
The Empress Dowager Cixi loved bright bold exotic colours and flowers and set the fashion in the late Qing Dynasty for the court noblewomen. Seen here in this example of a late dynasty floral robe with purple and turquoise embroidery.


Manchu Pale Green Short Ao Robe

Qing Dynasty | Sold

Qing Dynasty Pale green ao robe is embroidered with baskets of flowers and other taoist gold couched symbols. Ruji side and bottom borders in contrasting cream silk embellished with smaller taoist symbols. The pink silk lining emphasises the fashionable wide sleeves. The robe closes with gold brass buttons. Worn over a paired apron skirt and rare collar.


Silk Padded Winter Women’s Robe

Qing Dynasty | Sold

Qing Dynasty Pale mint green robe padded with silk floss, the brocade field woven with rondels. The border trim sides neck and sleeves with embroidered flowers and butterflies, on a black satin silk border. An additional pink woven wide ribbon trim, adorns the side sleeves and neck band. The final trim is a woven gold brocade. Fastened with five brass buttons.
Sold 1984 to Bernardo Bertolucci for “The Last Emperor”.


Tibetan Silk Brocade Woven Purple Chuba

Qing Dynasty | Sold

Tibetan heavy purple brocade chuba, Tibetan style robe, with a woven gold thread paisley design pattern. The Brocade striped lining in walnut and gold. The cuffs turned back to show an additional silk blue cuff lining.
Note. The Chuba robes were remade from the Manchu Court brocade Robes. That had arrived in Tibet for the aristocracy and Tibetan monks. They were recut in the chuba style closer and warmer to the body and with sleeve endings that kept the hands warmer. The climate was perfect for the protection of textiles and many of the oldest textiles and robes in the world have come from Tibet.


Tibetan Chuba Coral Silk Woven Brocade

Qing Dynasty | Sold

Tibetan chuba robe, heavy coral silk brocade, with an intricate woven gold thread design. The chuba has an attractive contrasting Ikat patterned lining in navy and white. The lining fabric is also piped around the robe and sleeve cuffs.
Note: The Chuba robes were remade from the Manchu Court brocade Robes. That had arrived in Tibet for the aristocracy and Tibetan monks. They were recut in the chuba style closer and warmer to the body and with sleeve endings that kept the hands warmer. The climate was perfect for the protection of textiles and many of the oldest robes have come from Tibet.