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Eight-Dragon Official Garment
2004-2-25 10:23:24     CRIENGLISH.com
An official garment from the time of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1736-1795 A.D.) has been found in possessions of the Lin family of Guangzhou Province. What is unusual about this garment is that it was embroidered with eight dragons!

In China's history, nobody could wear clothes bearing a dragon symbol except the emperor and the crown prince. Special permission could be granted to other people, usually important ministers, by the ruler to use the dragon sign as a great honor and privilege, but this was very rare.

Since this garment probably belonged to the Lin family, it is possible that an ancestor of the Lin family, who was probably a high official, was honored by the emperor to wear an official garment with dragons on it.

However, the highest official in the Lin family was Lin Shizhong, a fifth-grade official in the time of Emperor Qianlong (there were nine grades in the ancient bureaucratic system, with the first grade being the highest). Lin Shizhong's position seems too humble to have received the honor. So further investigation is needed to make clear whether this garment was granted by the emperor to Lin Shizhong.

This 200-year-old garment is made of deep blue silk. The golden embroidered patterns on the garment include three five-clawed dragons on the front, three on the back and one on each shoulder. The exquisite embroidery also includes also lucky clouds, chrysanthemums, bats, ocean waves and mountains.(Liu Min)


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