Sign up for our e-newsletter:


Chinese Court Robes: The Mint Museum Collection

Chinese Court Robes: The Mint Museum Collection

Mint Museum RANDOLPH Dec 21 2009-Jul 12 2011   /  Chinese court robes from the Manchu period. Robes of this era display a rich ornamentation of symbolism and decorative representations of the Manchu cosmos.

Exhibition Highlights

About The Exhibition

In 1644, the Manchu-Qing nomads took control over China, overthrowing the Ming Dynasty. To exert power over the defeated Han population, the Manchu imposed a dress code. The code distinguished the ruling imperial family, the royal court, and civic officials from the general citizenry. A hierarchy of color and decoration signified the rank of the wearer.

Court robes of this era display a rich ornamentation of symbolism and decorative representations of the Manchu cosmos. For example, a dragon symbolized the Emperor, considered the Son of Heaven, and from whom permission to wear such court robes was granted. Additionally, government officials – who were required to pass civil service exams – were also granted the right to wear court robes. Even the wives of such officials dressed according to their husband’s rank within the imperial court or government.

The Mint Museum’s Asian Art Collection includes ceramics, historic costumes, works on paper, and furniture. Look for more selections from this collection as the Museum begins its Randolph Road reinstallation following the opening of the Mint Museum Uptown, October 1, 2010