Non-official robes such as the example seen here were worn for important family occasions and ceremonies, including weddings and significant birthdays. This robe features eight medallions, each consisting of a stylized crane surrounded by gourd vines. (The motifs repeat in the robe's bands.) Cranes and bottle gourds symbolize longevity and therefore express appropriately auspicious birthday wishes.
This robe formed an ensemble with a matching dark blue coat, also in the Museum's collection. The very large sleeves are typical of women's robes in the late Qing dynasty, and the tapestry weave's 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.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Celebration: The Birthday in Chinese Art," February 27, 2010–November 28, 2010.