This truly exceptional and large pair of nodding figures are one of a very small number of known pairs retaining their original costumes. The condition of the costumes is remarkable.
This handsome couple represent Han indigenous Chinese as opposed to Manchu. She has bound feet which is a Han tradition and not something the Manchu women did. He is a first rank mandarin as indicated by the red hat button.
The dragon on the apricot coral silk robe is a four clawed Mang dragon. Again, a Han tradition that followed the old Ming dynasty laws that all Mandarins should wear a four-clawed dragon and not a five claw on their robes. The five-clawed dragon was reserved for the ruling class. The pattern off the’ Lishui’ water and wave pattern and the colour palette all direct us to the DaoGuang period of 1821-1850.