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Imperial gown owned by Empress Cixi on exhibition at the Tsindunlin mausoleums.

Imperial gown owned by Empress Cixi on exhibition at the Tsindunlin mausoleums.

Empress's ceremonial summer coat (Chaogua) from The Forbidden City Exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum March 2014 on Exshoesme.com. Photo by Jyotika Malhotra

Empress's ceremonial summer coat (Chaogua) from The Forbidden City Exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum March 2014 on Exshoesme.com. Photo by Jyotika Malhotra

Water Jar, Qing dynasty (1644–1911). China. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Gift of Heber R. Bishop, 1902 (02.18.476) | This work is exhibited in the “Colors of the Universe: Chinese Hardstone Carvings” exhibition, on view through October 9, 2017.

Water Jar, Qing dynasty (1644–1911). China. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Gift of Heber R. Bishop, 1902 (02.18.476) | This work is exhibited in the “Colors of the Universe: Chinese Hardstone Carvings” exhibition, on view through October 9, 2017.

Rank Badge with Lion, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. C. Y. Chen and Anonymous Gifts, 1988 (1988.154.2) | This work is featured in the “Chinese Textiles: Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection” exhibition, on view through June 19, 2016. #ChineseTextiles #AsianArt100

Rank Badge with Lion, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. C. Y. Chen and Anonymous Gifts, 1988 (1988.154.2) | This work is featured in the “Chinese Textiles: Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection” exhibition, on view through June 19, 2016. #ChineseTextiles #AsianArt100

Horse carrying books, 18th–19th century. Qing dynasty (1644–1911). China.  The…

Horse carrying books, 18th–19th century. Qing dynasty (1644–1911). China. The…

Panel with a Phoenix and Birds in a Rock Garden, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Late 16th-early 17th Century. China The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Seymour Fund, 1960 (60.1) | This work is featured in the “Chinese Textiles: Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection” exhibition, on view through June 19, 2016. #ChineseTextiles #AsianArt100

Panel with a Phoenix and Birds in a Rock Garden, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Late 16th-early 17th Century. China The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Seymour Fund, 1960 (60.1) | This work is featured in the “Chinese Textiles: Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection” exhibition, on view through June 19, 2016. #ChineseTextiles #AsianArt100

Rank Badge with Silver Pheasant, Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Qianlong period (1736-95). China. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Bequest of William Christian Paul. 1929 (30.75.899l) | This work is featured in the “Chinese Textiles: Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection” exhibition, on view through June 19, 2016. #ChineseTextiles #AsianArt100

Rank Badge with Silver Pheasant, Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Qianlong period (1736-95). China. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Bequest of William Christian Paul. 1929 (30.75.899l) | This work is featured in the “Chinese Textiles: Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection” exhibition, on view through June 19, 2016. #ChineseTextiles #AsianArt100

Fairy and Crane, 18th century. Qing dynasty (1644–1911). China. The Metropolitan…

Fairy and Crane, 18th century. Qing dynasty (1644–1911). China. The Metropolitan…

An elephant carrying a vase was a popular decorative arts subject because of its auspicious meaning. The words for “vase” and “elephant” are homonymic with those for “peace” and “signs,” thus coinciding with a Chinese proverb: “When there is peace, there are signs” (tai ping you xiang)

An elephant carrying a vase was a popular decorative arts subject because of its auspicious meaning. The words for “vase” and “elephant” are homonymic with those for “peace” and “signs,” thus coinciding with a Chinese proverb: “When there is peace, there are signs” (tai ping you xiang)

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