The golden five-clawed dragons on this robe indicate that it was woven for an empress or imperial consort of lower rank. While it retains the imagery mandated in the mid-eighteenth century court regulations, changes in the rendering of these designs help date this robe to the late nineteenth century. The heads of the dragons appear swollen and disproportionate to the bodies, and their claws have lost their strength. The standard rock and waves pattern at the hem have also changed. The diagonal waves are longer, straighter, and less realistic. These stylistic changes parallel those found on other works of art made at the same time.
William Christian Paul , the Bronx, NY (until d. 1929)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Power and Prestige: Chinese Dragon Robes 18th–21st Century," December 11, 2013–July 6, 2014.