A blue-ground embroidered dragon robe, Jifu. Qing dynasty, Jiaqing-Daoguang Period - Photo Sotheby's

woven with eight gold five-claw dragons on a blue-ground amid ruyi clouds, bats and the bajixiang, all above foaming waves crashing against a mountain, hemmed with a lishui border, the robe also features the auspicious double catfish design, niannian; 144cm., 56 5/8 in. Estimation: 18,000 - 22,000 GBP - Lot. Vendu 20,000 GBP

PROVENANCE: Sotheby’s New York, 26th March 1996, lot 134 

LITTERATURE: Patricia Bjaaland Welch, Chinese Art. A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery, Vermont, 2008, p. 99, fig. 185 (detail).

NOTE DE CATALOGUE: Jifu (semi-formal court robes) of this type, richly embroidered with eight dynamic dragons and the bajixiang, were reserved for the officials of the fourth, fifth and sixth ranks and their wives. These robes were worn at the Qing court for imperial birthday celebrations and on less formal occasions, together with the jifu dai (festive dress belt), the jiguan(festive hat), the court necklace and a surcoat. According to Linda Wigglesworth and Gary Dickinson, in Imperial Wardrobe, Berkeley, 2000, p. 159, the tailoring of the jifu is quite different from the chaopao (official court robe) and was based on the traditional Manchu garment rather than the Ming-style formal dress construction. A related empress's robe, but embroidered with nine dragons amongst clouds and the bajixiang amongst the waves on a dark blue ground, in the Qing Court collection and still in Beijing, is published in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Costumes and Accessories of the Qing Court, Hong Kong, 2005, pl. 96; and a later example decorated with the bajixiang and the Twelve Symbols of Imperial Authority on yellow silk, was sold at Christie's New York, 21st September 2004, lot 87.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art. London | 07 nov. 2012 www.sothebys.com