This piece, from a set of four roundels, decorated the chest, back, and shoulders of a prince’s formal ceremonial garment. Each roundel bears a dragon-in-clouds pattern on a navy blue ground, and seven of the eight auspicious Buddhist symbols appear in the clouds around the edges—the canopy, endless knot, fish, lotus, umbrella, vase, and wheel. (Only the conch is missing.) The roundels for the chest and the back feature a frontal dragon (zheng long), while those for the shoulders show a dragon in motion (xing long) with its head in profile.
The emperor’s formal ceremonial garment is decorated in the same way, except that all four dragons appear frontally.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Textiles," August 6, 2008–February 8, 2009.