V&A T.753-1950, Emperor's court robe, China (1875-1908)
The robe is made of gauze-banded plain weave silk with embroidery. This robe is a woman's garment that may be the earliest non-ecclesiastical Chinese garment in the Museum. The grand is a rich red silk that has horizontal bands of fruiting pomegranates (symbolizing a woman with many kids) in gauze weave running across the fabric at widely spaced intervals. Over this, there is shiny embroidered decoration of fruits, flowers, birds and mythical beasts .
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK T.753-1950
Summary of results
Traditionally used Chinese dyes, pagoda tree buds, turmeric and safflower had been identified as the dyeing sources of this Chinese woman's robe . Berberine was found in sample 2, a green thread from the pattern. Quite a few plants can generate berberine as a yellow dye . The most widely used were Phellodenrom spices, for exampleAmer cork tree and Chuan Huang Bo (Huangbo from Sichuan).
 Jing Han, The Historical and chemical investigation of dyes in high status Chinese costume and textiles of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911) PhD thesis, University of Glasgow February 2016.