Embroidered apricot coloured silk short robe
This Qing era robe has a typical straight cut, loose fitting body with square sleeves. The simple shape is designed to make efficient use of narrow widths of silk so that as little as possible of the expensive silk fabric is wasted when the garment is constructed. The main fabric is a lightweight silk with a self-coloured patterned weave. The cuffs and collar are decorated with bands of satin embroidered with silk floss threads and woven braids.
Garments based on robes such as this influenced Western European women’s fashion at the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century and were used as informal, comfortable garments such as dressing gowns and teagowns. Robes from China and Japan (and elsewhere) had previously influenced men’s informal clothing in the 18th century such as the banyan, a garment worn at home that many gentlemen chose to wear in portraits. A note with this robe states “Brought back from China by Mary Wise about 1900” so it is possible that this robe was purchased while travelling in China to be used as a dressing gown or ‘exotic’ souvenir to wear at home.
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