In the Ming and Qing dynasties the aristocracy as well as civil and military officials wore rank-defining badges on the front and back of their robes. The front-facing dragon would have been worn by a Prince of the Blood, who had been granted the right to wear the five-clawed creature by the emperor. The rich motifs include the rocks, the waves and the cloud representing the earth, the sea and the sky symbolising the universe, and the peony, bat and lingzhi (magical mushroom) symbolising nobility and longevity.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, January 2012.
Imperial Duke's insignia
Place where the work was made
'kesi' [woven silk]
26.0 x 27.3 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Judith and Ken Rutherford 2000
Not on display
Where the work was made
Shown in 3 exhibitions
Celestial silks: Chinese religious & court textiles, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 31 Jul 2004–24 Oct 2004
Dragon (2012), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 18 Jan 2012–06 May 2012
Glorious, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 May 2017–06 Jan 2019
Referenced in 3 publications
Gary Dickinson and Linda Wrigglesworth, Imperial wardrobe, London, 1990, pg. 127. plate no. 106
Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'The Marvel of Porcelain', Sydney, 2003, 126 (colour illus.).
Judith Rutherford and Jackie Menzies (Editors), Celestial silks: Chinese religious & court textiles, Sydney, 2004, 87, 88 (colour illus.). cat.no. 54