Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Jacket for a Theatrical Costume

Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
18th century
Silk embroidery on silk satin damask; bands: silk and metallic-thread embroidery on silk satin
30 1/2 x 51 1/2 in. (77.5 x 130.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David M. Levitt, by exchange, 1978
Accession Number:
Not on view
Three of these exquisite jackets are known to exist: two are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum and a third is in the Qing court collection of theatrical costumes of the Palace Museum, Beijing. All three have the same delicate floral pattern and identical seals and inscriptions on their linings.

The jackets were made in the textile bureau in Suzhou as tribute objects for the imperial court. They were part of an ensemble, perhaps with a skirt or other garment, and they were worn for performances by the Jingshan theatrical troupe in the Changchun Palace, within the Forbidden City.
Marking: Four seals stamped in black ink on lining at back of neck; also two written characters:
1. Qing shan- (mountain behind Imperial Palace where embroidery workshop was located, JM)
2. Yongxin- (may name embroiderer)
3. Wai san xue zhi ma- (may be stamp of workshop)
4. Chang chun- [forever spring]- name of role or player?

Read by Lucy Ho
Greenvale. C.W. Post Art Gallery. "Arts of China," February 4, 1977–March 27, 1977.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Extravagant Display: Chinese Art in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries," December 14, 2010–May 1, 2011.

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