The jifu is not a formal dress but is used for pleasure celebration like a birthday, a wedding, the first day of the year or a solstice. When it is intended for the use of a member of the imperial family, it is decorated with imperial dragons on a bright yellow background in satin. The themes of good auspices are profusely illustrated.
This robe is modeled on a Manchu garment and it pleases the Qing. A daughter of Kangxi brought as a dowry in 1691 of our calendar a robe embroidered with 100,000 beads which was discovered in 1976 in the tomb of her husband. Yongzheng stated a profound disapproval against the pearl dresses considered as an unnecessary luxury encouraging the corruption of donor courtiers.
Qianlong's position was less clear as some pearl robes were made during his reign for imperial use. One of them was sold for HK $ 14.7M including premium by Sotheby's in Hong Kong on 10 April 2006, lot 1540. It is back in the same auction place on October 5, lot 3307 estimated HK $ 20M.
Dragons are embroidered with multicolored pearls and the lesser figures are made of three more usual techniques of embroidery stitches. Some of the secondary figures are constituting the Twelve Symbols of Imperial Authority that were introduced by Qianlong in his imperial regalia in 1759 of our calendar.