Rare Books


Chinese Costume

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Illustration from Le costume historique


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'.

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