Orange silk gauze dragon robe, embroidered, China

Made in China, c 1800.

This is an imperial semi-formal dragon robe or jifu probably worn by an heir apparent during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). To the Chinese, the dragon represents the dynamic force in the universe and symbolises the emperor or ‘Son of Heaven’.

In 1759, the Qianlong emperor of the Chinese Qing dynasty issued an edict governing court attire. The colour, decoration and style of dress was determined by the wearer’s title, rank and status. According to these rites, ‘apricot-yellow’ was the colour res...


Imperial dragon robe, a semi-formal court robe or 'jifu' of orange silk gauze with side fastening of cast metal ball buttons and silk cord loops, long tapered sleeves with horse hoof shaped cuffs, skirt split at centre front and back to knee. Orange silk gauze embroidered with nine five-clawed dragons worked in couched gold and silver metallic threads, each dragon playing with a flaming disc motif, deep 'lishui' border bands at hem and elbows with mountains, waves, clouds, bats and precious objects, the body of the robe worked in counted thread embroidery with clouds, bats and 'ligzhi' motifs using blues, white, reds and lime green silk thread. Blue silk gauze cuffs, neck and opening bands embroidered with smaller metallic thread dragons and motifs similar to those worked on the body of the robe.


2120 mm
1380 mm


c 1800



Purchased with funds donated by Ken and Yasuko Myer, 1989

Cite this Object

Orange silk gauze dragon robe, embroidered, China 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 25 April 2017, <>
{{cite web |url= |title=Orange silk gauze dragon robe, embroidered, China |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=25 April 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
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This object is currently on display in Icons: From the MAAS Collection at the Powerhouse Museum
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