A purple silk robe, changyi, for a young lady of the imperial court. The robe embroidered with butterflies and begonia sprays which are repeated on the edging and on the white sleevebands. With the Chinese love of word puns, 'butterfly' sounds like 'age 70 to 80' and the begone represents 'calm'. this might have been ideal celebratory dress for the Empress Dowager Cixi's 70th birthday celebrations in 1904.
Chinese, Guangxu period, 1875-1908
Length: 134.6 cms
For similar examples see:
The Splendours of Imperial China, Qing Court Attire from the Palace Museum, Beijing 2008.