An extremely rare imperial noblewoman's gauze summer surcoat. Qing dynasty, 18th Century

Finely worked in counted stitch with eight dragon medallions amidst scattered butterflies and floral sprays on a deep blue ground, all above waves and a lishui stripe hem, the dragons couched in gold thread amongst waves and auspicious emblems, the sleeves similarly decorated with small dragon roundels and wave border  width over sleeves 67 7/8 in., 172.5 cm; length 54 in., 137 cm - 20,000—30,000 USD

NOTE : The lower roundels of this surcoat contain water dragons, gui, which are used by lower-ranking consorts. For a detailed discussion on water dragons, see John Vollmer, Dressed to Rule: 18th Century Court Attire in the MacTaggart Art Collection, Edmonton, 2007, p. 42.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art including Chinese and Japanese Art from The Collection of Frieda and Milton Rosenthal. 16 Sep 08. www.sotheby's.com