Imperial Manchu Surcoat  (k'un-fu)
China.  Mid to late 19th century

Silk and gold metallic k'o-ssu tapestry (kesi). 65"across the shoulders; 50"long.  This surcoat has eight five-claw lung dragons of gold metallic within celestial landscapes filled with Buddhist symbols.  Four are full- front-facing dragons and four are in profile, denoting a higher imperial rank than if dragons in profile appeared throughout.  The hemline is ornamented with waves and mountains of the celestial landscape.  The cuffs carry smaller dragon medallions. The coat has five gilt-metal ball and loop toggle buttons, and it is lined with pale blue silk damask having a floral motif.

The robe is in quite frail condition, but small frayed areas have been stabilized in several places throughout on the underneath side, especially along the shoulder line fold and back neck line where they are not visible when the piece is displayed. There is also a small old patch at the shoulder/back neckline. This rare piece is excellent for display, but requires careful handling.   $14,000

W-2711   Back view below
                Larger full view, front
                Larger full view, back
                Large detail photos, medallions

                Shoulder and neckline damage
MARLA MALLETT

Chinese Textiles
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