V&A T.9-1923, Embroidered child's robe, China (19th century)

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Artifact Information

The robe is a child's robe made of red silk satin, embroidered with colored silks and gold thread. There are eight celestial dragons with four-clawed on the robe. The dragons are chasing flaming pearls, amid which bats (fu, homonyms for happiness). Below is Meru, the sacred mountain of the Buddhists, rising from the waves. Lined with pale blue silk damask (floral pattern). It was found that a piece of red satin has been glued to one corner, where the jacket was defective and this is decorated with applied pieces of silk embroidery [1].

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK T.9.1923

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London UK T.9.1923

Summary of results

Analytical results by Jing Han. Analytical methods details are publicly available in Jing Han's thesis [2]

Traditionally used Chinese dyes, turmeric, safflower, indigo and sappanwood had been identified as the dyeing sources of this Chinese court robe [2].


[1] https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O485694/robe-unknown/

[2] 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.