A rare Imperial yellow Empress’ kesi semi-formal robe (jifu), Qing dynasty, Qianlong period. Photo Sotheby’s
finely woven with nine gold dragons, one hidden by the over-flap, surrounded by wispy clouds, peach boughs, floral sprigs, nandina berries and phoenix, all above terrestrial diagrams rising from rolling waves incorporating precious objects, above an undulating lishui stripe at the sleeves and hem, the midnight blue collar band, sleeve bands and cuffs, woven with gold dragons, bats, clouds, waves and precious objects, the sleeve extension of yellow ribbed silk. Length 54 1/2 in., 138.4 cm; Width 84 in., 213.5 cm. Estimation 150,000 — 250,000 USD
Provenance: Sotheby’s New York, 27th March 1996, lot 124.
PROPERTY FROM THE NORMA CANELAS ROTH COLLECTION OF CHINESE ROBES
The yellow ground and presence of phoenix would indicate that the present robe was made for an empress. For an illustration of an imperial consort’s dragon robe see Gary Dickinson and Linda Wrigglesworth, Imperial Wardrobe, Berkeley, 2000, pl. 12. An 18th century embroidered version of an imperial consort’s dragon robe is illustrated in John E. Vollmer, Ruling From the Dragon Throne, Costume of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Berkeley, 2002, fig. 4.2; while an emperor’s kesi version from the mid to late 18th century is illustrated in Robert D. Jackson, Imperial Silks: Ch’ing Dynasty Textiles in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, vol. I, Minneapolis, 2000, p. 689. A Qianlong period ‘Twelve-Symbol’ kesi robe was sold in our Hong Kong rooms 8th October 2010, lot 2626.
SOTHEBY’S. FINE CHINESE CERAMICS & WORKS OF ART, NEW YORK | 16 SEPT. 2014, 10:30 AM