Antique Chinese Robes and Textiles

Ming's Gallery

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Robes and Textiles

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Antique Chinese Robes and Textiles

Imperial garments throughout the palaces and courts of the world have been altered more by the descovery of Chinese silk then any other influence.

The arts of cultivating and spinning silk extended back to the reign of the legendary Yellow Emperor Huandi, c.2000 B.C. In ancient China, silk was regarded as a precious possession, as valuable as gold. By the first century A.D. it was the most important Chinese export and the secret of its creation was kept closely guarded, under penalty of death.

Trade routes between East and West were first opened along the famous "Silk Road" to meet Europe's growing demand for the luxurious cloth. Thousands of skilled weavers and embroiderers were employed by the imperial court studies to provide Han silk for Central Asia, Siberia and the Middle East, as well. Indeed, Roman silk imports alone led to such a strain on gold reserves that their economy was seriously threatened.

Showcasing textiles and adornments in historical context and aesthetic quality, this collection includes Ching Dynasty Imperial Dragon Robes (Long Pao), theatrical costumes, Mandarin Squares (Rank Badges), hats and purses, gold lily shoes, rare kesi weaving and kingfisher hairpins.

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