Woman’s robe with butterflies

Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911)

Date: late 19th century

Culture: China

Medium: Silk embroidery on silk satin

Dimensions: Overall: 53 x 82 in. (134.6 x 208.3 cm)

Classification: Costumes-Embroidered

Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. George F. Miller, 1970

Accession Number: 1970.145


On this robe, scores of delightful butterflies flutter among longevity medallions. Since the word for “butterfly” in Chinese (die) is a homonym for “octogenarian,” the butterfly is a symbol of longevity. It is also usually an auspicious image associated with joy and weddings, and this robe might have been worn for such an occasion.