VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Daoist robe
T.91-1928
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This sumptuous robe, made for use in Daoist religious ceremonies, is embroidered with 350 deities and immortals. Originally, many of these personages had their names written beside them, but these have now largely worn away. This is a 'robe of descent' - square in shape, sleeveless, with a round hole for the neck. It would have rested on the shoulders of the Daoist priest, and when he held up his arms, its decorative scheme would have been seen in all its glory by the onlookers. The 350 deities depicted represent the gods of the Daoist pantheon, including the Three Purities, the Three Celestial Worthies and the Jade Emperor.

History of the Object
Possibly collected by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty during his four-month visit to China and Japan in 1917.

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Type
Textile 
Materials
Embroidered silk 
Measurements
Width 208.7cm Height 127cm  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 17th century ~ AD 17th century 
Creation date
17th Century; 1650-1700 
Function
Made for use in Daoist religious ceremonies 
Acquisition
Gift of Mrs. Chester Beatty, wife of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty the great collector and philanthropist who had made his fortune from mining. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Victoria and Albert Museum 
Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum 
Credit line
© V&A Images, Victoria and Albert Museum, London 

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