Dragon robe

This imperial dragon robe features nine dragons amidst stylised clouds, with motifs of waves and mountains at the hem. The dragons on this robe are five-clawed, a type reserved for the emperor and his immediate family. This style of robe is known as the 'jifu', which was a court robe worn on semi-formal occasions during the Manchu-led Qing dynasty (1644-1911).While the decorative theme of the robe reveals Chinese perceptions on the importance of the emperor within the cosmic universe, the tailoring of the robe reflects Manchu influence. The tapered sleeves and horse-hoof cuffs were probably derived from the riding garments the Manchus wore when they led a semi-nomadic lifestyle. The Chinese-inspired patterning of the robe coupled with Manchu dress elements illustrates the Manchu style of governance - assimilating yet simultaneously enforcing cultural differences between the conquerors and the conquered.

Kangxi period (1662-1722), Qing dynasty
Gross measurement: 137.8 x 204 cm
Accession No.
silk brocade, gold-wrapped threads
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Garments and Accessories