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National Gallery of Victoria

Artist, Artwork title, year

Court lady’s robe (Neitao or Chenyi)
(late 19th century) China
silk, silk gauze, silk and metallic thread, metal
143.0cm (centre back); 53.5 cm (sleeve length)
Private collection, Melbourne

Artist, Artwork title, year

Uncut semi-formal court robe (Jifu) (detail)
(mid 19th century) China
silk, silk and metallic thread
153.0 x 141.8 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of John H. Connell, 1914

Dressed to Rule:

Imperial Robes of China

17 April – 6 September 09
Asian Temporary Exhibition Space, Level 1
Free entry

Dressed to Rule exhibits imperial robes of China from the Qing (pure and clear) Dynasty (1644-1911). Mostly drawn from the NGV Asian Art Collection, the exhibition features robes worn by the Qing Emperor of China and members of the imperial court as well as accessories, including undergarments made of bamboo beads and silk `lotus' shoes for bound feet.

The exhibition gives a glimpse of life in the imperial court of the Forbidden City in Peking (present-day Beijing). The robes bear witness to a confrontation of two different cultures, the nomadic conquering Manchu and the sedentary conquered Chinese, combining Chinese elegance with the barbaric splendour of the Manchu.



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