Loading Spinner

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

See all items

A Fine Early Chinese Silk Embroidered Summer Robe
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
A Fine Early Chinese Silk Embroidered Summer Robe
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $800- $1,200
$50015 Bids
Rare Chinese Court Lady Dragon Robe
Mar 23, 6:30 PM CDT
Rare Chinese Court Lady Dragon Robe
by Kelmscott's
Est: $600- $1,200
$3403 Bids
Large and Rare Chinese Kesi Dragon Robe
Mar 23, 6:30 PM CDT
Large and Rare Chinese Kesi Dragon Robe
by Kelmscott's
Est: $400- $800
$2403 Bids
An Embroidered Lavender Pink Silk Jacket
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
An Embroidered Lavender Pink Silk Jacket
by Joshua Kodner
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,7003 Bids
Chinese Hand-Embroidered Yellow Silk Dragon Robe
Mar 17, 12:00 PM EDT
Chinese Hand-Embroidered Yellow Silk Dragon Robe
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $600- $800
$1502 Bids
An Embroidered Green Silk Informal Robe
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
An Embroidered Green Silk Informal Robe
by Joshua Kodner
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,7002 Bids
Yao Shaman's Robe, China, Late 19th Early 20th C
Feb 29, 10:00 AM EST
Yao Shaman's Robe, China, Late 19th Early 20th C
by Material Culture
Est: $400- $800
$2001 Bid
2 Yao Shaman's Robes, China, Early 20th C.
Feb 29, 10:00 AM EST
2 Yao Shaman's Robes, China, Early 20th C.
by Material Culture
Est: $500- $1,000
$2501 Bid
A CHINESE REPUBLICAN PERIOD SILK ROBE together with a similar hat. (2)
Feb 29, 10:00 AM GMT
A CHINESE REPUBLICAN PERIOD SILK ROBE together with a similar hat. (2)
by Hannam's Auctioneers
Est: £30- £50
£200 Bids
A CHINESE SILK EMBROIDERED LADY SUMMER ROBE
Mar 03, 9:30 AM EST
A CHINESE SILK EMBROIDERED LADY SUMMER ROBE
by Berkeley Auction Gallery
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$5000 Bids
Chinese Embroidered Silk Robe Border, 19th C.
Feb 29, 10:00 AM EST
Chinese Embroidered Silk Robe Border, 19th C.
by Material Culture
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
AN EMBROIDERED YELLOW KESI DRAGON ROBE
Mar 07, 2:00 PM PST
AN EMBROIDERED YELLOW KESI DRAGON ROBE
by Walnut Tree Auction House, Inc
Est: $30,000- $50,000
$8,0000 Bids
Chinese 19th Century Dragon Robe
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
Chinese 19th Century Dragon Robe
by Joshua Kodner
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,0000 Bids
bp parity badge
Chinese Silk Embroidered Floral Robe.
Mar 10, 10:00 AM EST
Chinese Silk Embroidered Floral Robe.
by Clarke Auction Gallery
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
SKY-BLUE-GROUND SILK EMBROIDERED LADY'S JACKET
Mar 13, 10:00 AM GMT
SKY-BLUE-GROUND SILK EMBROIDERED LADY'S JACKET
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £300- £500
£2400 Bids
Chinese Blue Silk Robe, Qing Dynasty
Feb 29, 10:00 AM EST
Chinese Blue Silk Robe, Qing Dynasty
by Material Culture
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$1,5000 Bids
Dark Blue Chinese Embroidered Robe, China, Qing Dynasty
Feb 29, 10:00 AM EST
Dark Blue Chinese Embroidered Robe, China, Qing Dynasty
by Material Culture
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,0000 Bids
DARK-BLUE-GROUND SILK EMBROIDERED LADY'S ROBE
Mar 13, 10:00 AM GMT
DARK-BLUE-GROUND SILK EMBROIDERED LADY'S ROBE
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £300- £500
£2400 Bids
YELLOW-GROUND 'DRAGON' ROBE, JIFU
Mar 13, 10:00 AM GMT
YELLOW-GROUND 'DRAGON' ROBE, JIFU
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £1,000- £1,500
£8000 Bids
An Embroidered Yellow Silk ‘Dragon’ Robe
Mar 16, 8:00 PM EDT
An Embroidered Yellow Silk ‘Dragon’ Robe
by Annabel's Galleries Inc.
Est: $25,000- $30,000
$3,0000 Bids
Vintage Chinese Dragon Robe Smoking Jacket
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Vintage Chinese Dragon Robe Smoking Jacket
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $50- $75
$100 Bids
Chinese Embroidered Silk Court Robe, Qing Dynasty
Feb 29, 10:00 AM EST
Chinese Embroidered Silk Court Robe, Qing Dynasty
by Material Culture
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$1,5000 Bids
Chinese Blue Robe, Qing Dynasty
Feb 29, 10:00 AM EST
Chinese Blue Robe, Qing Dynasty
by Material Culture
Est: $4,000- $6,000
$2,0000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Robes


Material Culture

Material Culture

Joshua Kodner

Joshua Kodner

Clarke Auction Gallery

Clarke Auction Gallery

Lyon & Turnbull

Lyon & Turnbull