Qing Chic: Chinese Textiles from the 19th to early 20th Century

February 6, 2014 - May 4, 2014

This pendant exhibition to David Webb’s jewelry designs features a robe, embroidered silk panels, purses, and shoes that share Webb’s love of natural forms, especially flowers and animals. The pictured dragon robe from the  last half of the 19th century was probably made for the  Empress Dowager Cixi – the powerful and charismatic woman who unofficially, but effectively controlled China for 47 years, from 1861 to her death in 1908.  This robe, worn for court ceremonies, is woven as tapestry with brightly colored threads worked around vertical warp threads to produce all the details. The diagonal lines at the hem depict the cosmic sea, and the stylized blade-like forms in the center and at the side seams are mountains. Together, they represent the world ruled by the emperor, who is symbolized by the flying dragons. Among the many decorative motifs are cranes and bats, which are signs of long life and good fortune, respectively.


Organized by the Norton Museum of Art
This exhibition is made possible in part through the generosity of John and Heidi Niblack.