practice of selling the privilige of wearing the robes began with the Qing.
Under Emperor Dao Guang, a price list was published for this practice. Dragon
Robes began to be produced more industrially and sold to Europeans and Americans
living in and visiting China. The most complex ceremonial robes could take
ten to twelve workers, including dyers, technicians, mechanics and pattern
designers, as well as weavers and embroiderers, five years to complete a robe.
The sleeve of this Dragon Robe is embellished with the phoenix, symbolic of
the Empress, and banded in an interlocking motif.