Exhibition Public - USA & Canada
Asia Week New York

From the Imperial Theater: Chinese Opera Costumes of the 18th and 19th Centuries

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue,
New York, USA
Jun 25, 2016 To Oct 09, 2017

Detail: Drawn entirely from The Met collection, this exhibition examines these luxury textiles from artistic and technical points of view. It is organized in two rotations. The first focuses on costumes used in dramas based on historical events; and the second will feature costumes from plays derived from legends and myths. The presentation showcases eight robes, each of which was created for a specific role—court lady, official, general, monk, nun, and immortal. A set of album leaves faithfully depicting theatrical characters wearing such robes is also displayed.

The 18th and 19th centuries witnessed a flowering of Chinese drama. Under the patronage of the Qing court (1644–1911), performances—including the "Peking Opera"—filled the Forbidden City in Beijing. A form of traditional Chinese theater, Peking Opera was developed fully by the mid-19th century, and because of the form's minimal stage settings and the importance of exaggerated gestures and movements, costume played an unusually significant role.

This exhibition includes superb examples with interior markings indicating their use in court productions.

Phone No.: (212) 535 7710
Site URL: www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2016/from-the-imperial-theater

Theatrical robe for a female Daoist priest
Theatrical robe for a female Daoist priest
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
54 x 78 in. (137.16 x 198.12 cm)
Silk thread embroidery on silk satin