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Man's bamboo undergarment

19th century


Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    19th century
    Media category
    Materials used
    tubular bamboo beads threaded together with cotton, trimmed in light blue silk with button and ties
    68.0 x 152.0 cm
    Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Judith and Ken Rutherford 2009
    Lower Asian gallery
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

  • About

    Bamboo undergarments were worn to keep the wearer cool and dry. They also prevented the staining of outer garments that were often made of costly silks. Typically they are made of hollow pieces of bamboo sewn together with cotton to fashion a type of mesh garment. A diagonal design, with additional patterning at the cuffs and near the waist, enhance this piece. There are vents at the underarms and a button is attached at the neck, together with ties along the garment front.

    This type of bamboo clothing has been dated to as early as the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). Frequently worn by Qing court officials under their heavy robes, these undergarments were particularly prevalent in southern China. Undergarments like this were also worn in especially humid climates.

    Asian Art Department, AGNSW, September 2011

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

  • Provenance

    Mr Ken & Mrs Judith Rutherford, 2001-2009, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, purchased in Beijing. Donated to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Aug 2009.