aoku (Robe)

About this object

History of use

Everyday wear. This style of woman's robe, which is part of a 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. 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

Hand-sewn, lined, blue-black long robe. The robe has a stand-up collar, long sleeves, and a neckline opening that overlaps to the right side under the arm with three fasteners. Shaped seams front and back. Flared side seams, with slit at the bottom. A decorative braid outlines the robe. Three frog style fasteners on collar, three more at neck, three more and a group of four on the right side. Two flourishes of piping attached on either side of the front opening, one side with a loop, the other with a ball-shaped toggle. (Robe is part of a suit with pants 2506/2 b).