Asian Art Auction

June 12, 2017

LOT 30

Lot 30

A ‘Kesi’ Ceremonial Robe (Jifu), 19th Century

A ‘Kesi’ Ceremonial Robe (Jifu), 19th Century
Lot 30 Details
A ‘Kesi’ Ceremonial Robe (Jifu), 19th Century

Very finely and exquisitely rendered, this ceremonial garment is of full length with horsehoof cuffs, decorated with eight dragons on the exterior and a ninth dragon hidden on the underflap, woven in muted tones of blue, brown, green and gold
51.5" x 69.5" — 130.8 x 176.5 cm.

Estimate $4,000-$6,000

Realised: $3,360
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images
A ‘Kesi’ Ceremonial Robe (Jifu), 19th Century
  • A ‘Kesi’ Ceremonial Robe (Jifu), 19th Century
  • A ‘Kesi’ Ceremonial Robe (Jifu), 19th Century

From an Important Private Collection, Toronto


Kesi, literally meaning ‘cut silk’, is a silk tapestry technique where one set of warp ends is woven with a discontinuous weft of different colours in a tabby weave. Kesi originated from wool tapestry, and was adapted to silk weaving in the Tang dynasty, maintaining popularity from the Song until the Qing dynasty. In 2009, the kesi silk making technique was registered with the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. The technique is time consuming and requires much skill, resulting in a fine art piece. Because of its production costs and delicate nature, the use of kesi in robes is only exemplified in official apparel of imperial Ming and Qing courts. Officials of the first, second and third ranks wore ceremonial robes with nine dragons, while those of fourth and lower ranks wore fewer than nine dragons. The present example is vented in the front and back, indicating it is a male jifu.


For condition information please contact the specialist.

LOT 30

About Condition Ratings

  • 5 Stars: Excellent - No discernable damage, flaws or imperfections
  • 4 Stars: Very Good - Minor flaws or imperfections visible only under close inspection using specialised instruments or black light
  • 3 Stars: Good - Minor flaws visible upon inspection under standard lighting
  • 2 Stars: Fair - Exhibits flaws or damage that may draw the eye under standard lighting
  • 1 Star: Poor - Flaws or damage immediately apparent under standard lighting (examples: missing components, rips, broken glass, damaged surfaces, etc.)

Note: Condition ratings and condition details are the subjective opinions of our specialists and should be used as a guide only. Waddington’s uses due care when preparing condition details, however, our staff are not professional restorers or conservators. Condition details and reports are not warranties and each lot is sold “as is” in accordance with the buyer’s terms and conditions of sale. In all cases the prospective purchaser is responsible for inspecting the property themselves prior to placing a bid.