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Dressed to Rule: Imperial Robes of China

Start Date 17 April 2009
End Date 06 September 2009
Venue National Gallery of Victoria
Location Melbourne, Australia

Dressed to Rule exhibits imperial robes of China from the Qing (pure and clear) Dynasty (1644-1911). Mostly drawn from the NGV Asian Art Collection, the exhibition features robes worn by the Qing Emperor of China and members of the imperial court as well as accessories, including undergarments made of bamboo beads and silk `lotus’ shoes for bound feet.

The exhibition gives a glimpse of life in the imperial court of the Forbidden City in Peking (present-day Beijing). The robes bear witness to a confrontation of two different cultures, the nomadic conquering Manchu and the sedentary conquered Chinese, combining Chinese elegance with the barbaric splendour of the Manchu.