An imperial blue kesi summer dragon robe, jifu, Qing dynasty, 19th century

Lot 2154. An imperial blue kesi summer dragon robe, jifu, Qing dynasty, 19th century; 77 in. (195 cm.) wide. Estimate HKD 200,000 - HKD 300,000Price realised HKD 525,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2013

The blue kesi is worked with the prescribed nine five-clawed dragons, two shown full-face leaping around a 'flaming pearl' on the front and the back while six others on the front, back and shoulders are shown reaching for the pearl, as is the ninth on the underflap. All dragons are set amidst bright lingzhi-clouds highlighted in green and interspersed with 'precious objects' and bats including a central design of two bats under a canopy, above a terrestrial diagram and a lishui stripe separated by further clouds. The decoration is repeated on the border, collar and horsehoof cuffs.

ProvenanceLinda Wrigglesworth, London 

NoteAn embroidered blue silk gauze summer dragon robe of this pattern is illustrated by Chris Hall et al., Powerdressing: Textiles for Rulers and Priests from the Chris Hall Collection, Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, 2006, p. 147, no. 23, where the authors note that 'blue was the colour used on dragon robes worn by the third and fourth degree princes, nobles down to the eleventh degree, and officials.'  

Christie'sImperial Sale; Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 29 May 2013, Hong Kong, HKCEC Grand Hall