This exquisitely embroidered silk women’s long coat or jacket was purchased in London by Dr. Reem El Mutwalli in 2015. The sleeves were adjusted at the shoulder joint, for ease of wear, and the article was lined with a Satin (Damask) fabric with a repeat of a small circular motif. It was eventually added to the Zay Initiative collection.
This beautiful and delicate ankle-length woman’s long coat is constructed of an ivory silk fabric in (Satin) weave. The jacket is heavily embellished all over with (Satin_stitch) embroidery executed by hand in ivory thread with red and black highlights.
Although not much is known about its history or provenance, with its lapelled collars and long-lose fit, the cut and construction conforming to Western style and aesthetics it was possibly made for a Western wearer. It has a small pocket on the underside of the front opening and has large flat buttons covered in the same fabric. In fact, it could very well have been made outside of China. What is however clear is the fact that the fabric of the jacket was made in China.
The main field of the jacket is packed with embroidered embellishment in ivory silk Floss threads. It depicts an idyllic countryside with pagodas, Chinese gardens, flora, and fauna. The significance of this piece is the presence of 365 human figures also in ivory silk Floss except for their facial features which are embroidered with black and red threads to highlight them.
It is believed that these human figures each representing a child for each day of the year would work its charm as a form of totem to make a childless woman bear children.