1895 - 1896 Chinese American Man's Gown

Description (Brief)
Lee B. Lok (1869-1942) immigrated to San Francisco from Guangdong Province, China in 1881 and soon after moved to New York City's Chinatown where he worked in the Quong Yuen Shing & Co. store.
Lee B. Lok ordered this gown from China to wear at the 1896 arrival ceremony in New York of Li Hongzhang, emissary of the Empress Dowager of China. Soon after Lee came to America he abandoned Chinese clothes for daily use and cut his queue. However on special occasions Lee wore clothing that identified him as Chinese. This Manchu style gown splits at the back, front, and both sides to allow for easy movement on horseback – a reflection of the Manchu people’s equestrian background.
Currently not on view
Object Name
gown, man's
Object Type
Main Dress
date made
ca 1896
Physical Description
silk (overall material)
satin (overall material)
overall: 72 cm x 131 cm; 28 3/8 in x 51 9/16 in
place made
United States: New York, Manhattan, Chinatown
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Chinese American
Family & Social Life
Cultures & Communities
Clothing & Accessories
Chinese American
Li Hongzhang visit to New York
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Costume
Chinese American
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of James Edgar Mead and Virginia Lee Mead
Publication title
Lee Chinese -American Family Papers, ca. 1915-1970
Publication author
Mead, Virginia Lee
Publication URL
Additional Media

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