The robe of state, or chaofu, is the most formal of the imperial Qing robes, and was worn by the emperor and by his high officials during important annual rites. The slim-fitting sleeves and horse-hoof-shaped cuffs, which are vestiges of jackets for horseback hunting in cold weather, illustrate a Manchu adaptation of the traditional Han Chinese court dress, as does the shorter length of the garment. Such adaptations were formalized in 1759 when the style and decoration of court robes were standardized under regulations which also designated colors and designs for different types of robes. The dark blue color and four-clawed dragons on this robe indicate it would have been worn by an individual ranking somewhere between a third degree prince and a fourth degree official.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Power and Prestige: Chinese Dragon Robes 18th–21st Century," December 11, 2013–July 6, 2014.