Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Woman's informal robe

19th century
Wool and silk
46 in. (116.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. William A. Weaver, in memory of her beloved husband, 1974
Accession Number:
Not on view
Embroidered in brightly colored silks and gold on the woolen ground of this robe is a roughly symmetrical arrangement of the "hundred antiques," lavishly complemented with fruit and flowers. At the bottom center of the robe, between containers of narcissus flowers, the scholarly tradition is represented by brushes, a scroll of silk or paper for calligraphy or painting, coral branches, and a fly whisk, all objects associated with the literati.

A little higher, below vessels containing sumptuous fullblown peonies and other flowers, is a long slender object shaped like a mushroom at one end and seen here with a tassel at the other end. This implement is called a ruyi, and as it figures in rebuses to symbolize the fulfillment of a wish, the presence of a ruyi often signals that a word puzzle is at hand. Here it is seen with a bowl containing a peach and a Buddha's-hand citron, fruits associated with longevity and prosperity. Represented on the inner part of the sleeves on either side of this robe are utensils for burning incense, each set consisting of an incense burner, a small round box for storing incense, and a cylindrical holder containing a spatula and tongs for manipulating the burning incense. Sets of utensils for burning incense were indispensable accessories in a scholar's studio.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The "Hundred Antiques" in Chinese Textiles," February 8, 2006–July 30, 2006.

Related Objects

Woman's Ceremonial Robe (The Bat Medallion Robe)

Date: first half of the18th century Medium: Silk and metallic thread embroidery on silk satin Accession: 43.119 On view in:Not on view

The Goddess Kurukulla

Date: 19th century Medium: Appliqued satin, brocade and damask, embroidered silk and painted details Accession: 2014.720.1 On view in:Gallery 253

Woman's Robe with Peonies and Shou Medallions

Date: late 19th–early 20th century Medium: Tapestry-woven (kesi) silk and metallic thread Accession: 46.187.6 On view in:Not on view

Daoist Robe

Date: 17th century Medium: Silk and metallic thread tapestry weave (kesi) Accession: 43.144 On view in:Gallery 210

Knotted Dragon Pendant

Date: 3rd century B.C. Medium: Jade (nephrite) Accession: 1985.214.99 On view in:Gallery 207