Nonofficial robes and coats such as these were worn for important family occasions and ceremonies, such as weddings and significant birthdays. Both the red robe and the matching dark blue surcoat feature eight medallions, each consisting of a stylized crane surrounded by gourd vines-motifs that repeat in the robe's bands. Cranes and bottle gourds symbolize longevity and therefore express auspicious wishes appropriate to the occasions on which the ensemble would have been worn. The very large sleeves are typical of women's robes in the late Qing dynasty, and the painted details are also characteristic of the time.
Private Collection, New York (until 1949; donated to MMA).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Silk Tapestry (Kesi)," March 17, 2004–July 4, 2004.