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The exquisite brocaded fabric of this dress exhibits a strong East Asian influence. The clusters of roundels contain Chinese motifs, such as plum blossoms, thunder patterns, overlapping waves, and the Chinese character shou, which symbolizes long life. Because plum blossoms bloom in the harshness of winter and continue into early spring, they symbolize vitality and celebrate the arrival of spring.
Beginning in the 1870s and until the early 1890s, the style of skirts changed from the full-bell shape of the 1860s to a half-bell shape, creating a flatter, smoother effect in the front and moving fullness, supported by a bustle, towards the back.
Accessioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1976.