shan (Robe)

About this object

History of use

Everyday wear. This style of woman's suit (aoku) originated with the Manchus, a northern nomadic tribe who ruled during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). Both men and women wore the same style of suit until men stopped wearing the overlapping top. Women continued to wear this style until the mid-to-late 19th century. It was cut very wide, with long sleeves and reflected the wealth of the owner. Originally worn over matching pants; later worn over a skirt by the middle and upper classes.


Sold through a consignment store in Vancouver, by a great-grandchild of the original owners.

Physical description

Short lavender robe with a damask floral design of grapes and leaves. The robe is embellished with two bands of black silk bordering black cuffs, a thick band of black silk at the front opening, and black frog fasteners at the neck, front opening and side. There is a pocket on the inside, and there are slits at the bottom of the robe on either side.