Theatrical robe with phoenix and floral patterns


Not on view

This elaborate robe would have been worn by a performer playing a princess or a palace concubine. Details such as the elegant cloud collar, multicolored sleeves, and fine embroidery attest to the quality of the garment and the status of the role. Phoenixes were used to signify the empress and other women at court. The dangling ribbons of the skirt would have moved as the actor was walking or dancing.

A depiction of a “princess” wearing a similar robe in a nineteenth-century album of theatrical portraits (at the National Library of China, Beijing) helped to date this piece and confirm its function.

On view during Rotation 1 of exhibition from June 25, 2016 through January 13, 2017.

Theatrical robe with phoenix and floral patterns, Silk thread embroidery on silk satin, China

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