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Chinese Robes

Chinese clothing was particularly distinct from Western clothing in ancient times, a distinction that was preserved until 1912, the advent of the People’s Republic of China. Traditional Chinese robes are characterized by a cross-collar, which crosses the right lapel over the left, and either a long gown or a form of skirt worn with the blouse. The robes were tied with a sash. The basic features of this type of clothing were established in the 17th century B.C.

Color and designs on Chinese robes spoke to the rank of the wearer. Yellow was reserved for only the emperor; images of dragons also pointed towards an emperor. High rank officials wore purple. Robes also varied by society; traditional Han clothing is characterized by a lack of buttons, the use of a sash, and the cross-collar lapels. These robes had long wide sleeves.

Another well-known type of robe is the “Qi Pao," the traditional Manchu female style of clothing fused with Western patterns that give the female body an idealized hourglass shape. While the collar generally remained the same, the variations of this clothing varied from region to region.


Quick Facts

  • The more designs there were embroidered onto the clothing, as well as the quality of the fabric that was used, the wealthier and higher ranked the wearer
  • Most traditional Chinese wedding robes, which vary depending on region and time period, were made of red silk for good luck and happiness
  • The embroidered designs on an official’s uniform had very significant meanings in the past. A first rank civil officer’s uniform would have an image of a crane, second rank a gold pheasant, and subsequent ranks would have a peacock, goose, silver pheasant, egret, duck, oriole, and quail

Recommended Items at Auction

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Chinese Qing Dynasty Kossu (Kesi) Dragon Robe
Oct 30, 1:00 PM EDT
Chinese Qing Dynasty Kossu (Kesi) Dragon Robe
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $100- $15,000
$4,90017 Bids
Chinese Counted Stitch Summer Gauze Robe
Oct 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Chinese Counted Stitch Summer Gauze Robe
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $500- $5,000
$3,00010 Bids
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CHINESE BLUE-GROUND EMBROIDERED SILK ROBE
Oct 31, 6:00 AM PDT
CHINESE BLUE-GROUND EMBROIDERED SILK ROBE
by East West Auctions
Est: $2,000- $3,000
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Chinese Formal "Chaopao" Silk Court Robe with Dragons
Oct 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Chinese Formal "Chaopao" Silk Court Robe with Dragons
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $5,000- $15,000
$3,7504 Bids
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CHINESE BLUE-GROUND 'NINE DRAGON' SILK ROBE
Oct 31, 6:00 AM PDT
CHINESE BLUE-GROUND 'NINE DRAGON' SILK ROBE
by East West Auctions
Est: $20,000- $30,000
$5,0001 Bid
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RARE BLUE GOLD THREAD TWELVE-SYMBOL DRAGON ROBE
Oct 31, 6:00 AM PDT
RARE BLUE GOLD THREAD TWELVE-SYMBOL DRAGON ROBE
by East West Auctions
Est: $40,000- $60,000
$15,0001 Bid
A Chinese kesi weave 'dragon' robe
Nov 10, 10:30 AM GMT
A Chinese kesi weave 'dragon' robe
by Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales
Est: £1,000- £1,500
£1,0001 Bid
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CHINESE QING DYNASTY IMPERIAL COURT SILK ROBE
Nov 02, 10:00 AM GMT
CHINESE QING DYNASTY IMPERIAL COURT SILK ROBE
by Sheppards
Est: €3,000- €5,000
€1,8001 Bid
Remnant Chinese Embroidered Dragon Robe
Nov 05, 12:00 PM EDT
Remnant Chinese Embroidered Dragon Robe
by Cottone Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$1501 Bid
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A PURPLE SILK EMBROIDERED 'NINE DRAGON' ROBE, JIFU 19th century
Nov 01, 10:00 AM GMT
A PURPLE SILK EMBROIDERED 'NINE DRAGON' ROBE, JIFU 19th century
by Bonhams
Est: £800- £1,200
£8001 Bid
CHINESE EMBROIDERED SILK ROBE
Nov 12, 11:00 AM EST
CHINESE EMBROIDERED SILK ROBE
by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
Est: $300- $500
$1501 Bid
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RARE YELLOW EMBROIDERED TWELVE-SYMBOL 'DRAGON' ROBE
Oct 31, 6:00 AM PDT
RARE YELLOW EMBROIDERED TWELVE-SYMBOL 'DRAGON' ROBE
by East West Auctions
Est: $40,000- $50,000
$15,0000 Bids
RED SILK EMBROIDERED 'FIVE CLAW DRAGON' TUNIC
Oct 30, 3:00 PM PDT
RED SILK EMBROIDERED 'FIVE CLAW DRAGON' TUNIC
by Mega International Auction Inc.
Est: $4,000- $6,000
$2,8000 Bids
CHINESE EMBROIDERED SILK ROBE
Nov 12, 11:00 AM EST
CHINESE EMBROIDERED SILK ROBE
by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
Est: $800- $1,200
$4000 Bids
A Chinese Mandarins 'dragon' robe
Nov 10, 10:30 AM GMT
A Chinese Mandarins 'dragon' robe
by Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales
Est: £1,000- £2,000
£9000 Bids
A fine Chinese blue 'dragon' robe
Nov 10, 10:30 AM GMT
A fine Chinese blue 'dragon' robe
by Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales
Est: £1,500- £2,500
£1,5000 Bids
A Chinese 'crackle ice pattern' silk bolt
Nov 11, 10:30 AM GMT
A Chinese 'crackle ice pattern' silk bolt
by Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales
Est: £300- £500
£3000 Bids
Benin Indigo-Dyed Hunter's Tunic, Early-Mid 20th C.
Nov 15, 10:00 AM EST
Benin Indigo-Dyed Hunter's Tunic, Early-Mid 20th C.
by Material Culture
Est: $300- $600
$1500 Bids
18th century Continental Polychrome Hand Carved Creche Figure dressed in silk
Nov 07, 10:00 AM PDT
18th century Continental Polychrome Hand Carved Creche Figure dressed in silk
by Global Auctions Company
Est: $1,200- $1,500
$1,0000 Bids
Chinese embroidery robe
Nov 01, 2:00 PM PDT
Chinese embroidery robe
by International Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $300
$300 Bids
Chinese late 19th century blue ground embroidered silk
Nov 14, 10:00 AM EST
Chinese late 19th century blue ground embroidered silk
by Tremont Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
A RARE IMPERIAL CHINESE MIDNIGHT BLUE-GROUND FORMAL 'DRAGON' ROBE, CHAOFU.
Nov 18, 11:00 AM GMT
A RARE IMPERIAL CHINESE MIDNIGHT BLUE-GROUND FORMAL 'DRAGON' ROBE, CHAOFU.
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £2,000- £3,000
£2,0000 Bids
A CHINESE CHESTNUT-GROUND EMBROIDERED 'DRAGON' ROBE.
Nov 18, 11:00 AM GMT
A CHINESE CHESTNUT-GROUND EMBROIDERED 'DRAGON' ROBE.
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £1,000- £2,000
£1,0000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Robes


Chiswick Auctions

Chiswick Auctions

Bonhams

Bonhams

Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales

Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales

East West Auctions

East West Auctions