Albert Racinet. The Historical Encyclopedia of Costumes, introduction by Dr. Aileen Ribeiro, New York, N.Y.: Facts on File, 1988, pp. 82-3.
Education Resource Centre ERC f 391.009 RACI
This is an edited translation of Racinet's Le costume historique, first published in serial form then appearing in six volumes in 1888. Racinet (1825-1893) relied extensively for his illustrations of Chinese dress on export water-colours from Canton and existing published works.
The portrait here purports to be of an empress, an imperial wife of the second rank, and a servant. The dress style is Chinese, not Manchu. The symbols associated with imperial figures are indicated: the flaming pearl, the phoenix, and the 'sea of clouds'.