Imperial Chinese dragon robe blows away the competition at Kerry Taylor Auctions

As we reported, Kerry Taylor held a sale yesterday featuring a large section of Japanese-born designer Yuki's work.

However, a rare Chinese Dragon Robe was the star of the sale. An orange satin Imperial robe, it was brought back from China in the 1920s and has been in the same family ever since.

The silk was bright and un-faded, but unfortunately it had been altered (the sleeves having been cut and shortened) and the hem had been folded over for a European to wear as a coat.

It bore all twelve Imperial symbols of power embroidered to the back and front - although unusually the two lower symbols on the back of the robe had been reversed.

Rare Chinese Imperial orange dragon robe
The rare Chinese Imperial orange dragon robe

This fault may have been the reason it was not actually made up as a robe for the Imperial family at the time, but was made up later in the 1920s and sold to the vendor's ancestors who were a wealthy upper-middle class couple from the Isle of Wight who travelled widely.

Although it has been stored away in a wardrobe since it was inherited - it was rarely worn, the last time being when the current owner, (who is a teacher) wore it to the school's "national costume day".

The family have told the auctioneer that they are now looking to see what other treasures they might have buried around the house… Five telephones battled it out, but the ultimate winner was Chinese, so the robe will soon return to the homeland from whence it came.

It was taken away for a none-too-shabby £38,400 ($59,200).


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