Cixi dress near completion

9 years, 8 months ago 51


I almost can’t believe it: After two years of work and with only a few more weeks of embroidery left to go, Empress Cixi‘s extravagant robe is almost complete! This is a bad snapshot, though. But I was too impatient to set up the proper light kit for an unfinished piece.

Over the last two years, it required a ridiculous number of hours to embroider this mammoth; so many, that i lost count somewhere after six hundred. This is my Titanic.

I haven’t began making the shoes yet; a pair of pretty Manchu slippers on tall pedestals. However, I’ve been having second thoughts about them lately. This is supposed to be her ‘wedding’ night robe when she became Xian Feng Emperor’s concubine, and I’m beginning to think that the shoes would be almost inappropriate in this composition. But I do love making shoes just for the sake of making shoes….so…it’s a tough call for me. Perhaps it could be some sort of a variation of high pedestal bed chamber slippers, I donno…..What do you think: shoes or no shoes?

51 Responses

  1. Amy says:


    The bead embroidery is breath-taking. I can’t even imagine spending that much time and energy onto something…but it’s worth it, it is astoundingly beautiful, Marina!

  2. MigMig says:

    Marina, this robe is breathtaking! I can’t wait to see Cixi wearing it, she will be looking very beautiful.
    I do not think that wearing such robe the imperial concubine would walk barefoot – she definitely needs shoes, with ornamental platforms.
    Congratulations on another exquisite creation.

  3. Teddi says:

    Exquisite and truly stunning.
    I think she will be shoes.

  4. Teresa Roland says:

    Your work absolutely takes my breath away…Amazing!!!

  5. Swan says:

    I don’t even know what to say. Unbelievable.

  6. Swan says:

    Oh, and shoes! For sure pedestal shoes.

  7. Annina says:

    mindblowing, and so beautiful. i want to touch it!
    i hope she will be in an exhibition where i can see her some time!

    oh and i say shoes!

  8. Mary Ann says:

    In that period she would have had her feet bound so she would have worn a slipper type shoe with a platform.

  9. Marina says:

    On the contrary, unlike Han women, Manchu women did not bind their feet.
    Empress Dowager Cixi was a Manchu and thus did not bind her feet, in fact, she tried to ban foot binding.

  10. MissLK says:

    The glorious Cixi, finally!

    On the Qing royal wedding night, the concubine would be stripped bare(to prevent assassination of the emperor) and rolled up in a robe or blanket, then carried by the eunuch into the emperor’s chamber.

    Therefore I vote for no shoes.

    Perhaps Cixi’s feet can be tattooed with jewels that resonate with her splendid robe!

  11. Amber says:

    So beautiful, I cant wait to see it on her. I love the shoes you make for these Asia themed princesses.

  12. You are unreal, if Im seeing right these are all hand sewn beads. This is priceless. I hope you get hand massages.I feel her feet could be tattooed…It looks like silk. How can you be touching,pulling, picking threading a silk cloth for 2 years and shows no trace of manipulation? You have angel hands…..outstanding

  13. Jon Songserm says:

    I can’t believe my eyes, so amazing!
    I think have to be shues on her feet to compleat her look! :)

  14. Jayne Wourms says:

    Silk slippers perhaps. I don’t know, you probably don’t want anything to take away from the beautiful beed work, but could? shoes or no shoes, she will be gorgeous I am sure!

  15. Eiko says:

    Wow, her gown is amazing! Such gorgeous details.

    I vote for shoes, simply ’cause I love seeing your shoes on dolls :)

  16. Candice says:

    I’m feelin’ shoes on this, but of course, go with your gut. I love the dark edges that your work walks along. Shoes of the caliber you are talking about would almost touch on the fetish of such things. If this is her bedchamber robe, a little fetish-play might even be appropriate to tease. It of course would not be the focus of this piece, but rather a teaser, those who like shoes on sexy women, would certainly get the message. *grin* And then, I just want to see you create fabulously beautiful shoes to compliment this ensemble. Her head ornament is Titanic, her robe is Titanic, why should her shoes not be? Enjoy! *grin*

  17. Marina says:

    That is a very good point, Candice. I love your approach to the shoes dilemma.

    Thank you for giving me a different perspective.

  18. Jenny H says:

    Shoes shoes shoes! Definitely!!!

  19. Kamila says:

    Shoes. Absolutely no question about it. Titanic shoes to go with the rest of the outfit, which by the way looks totally stunning in this image, like a pattern painting. I think it would be incomplete without footwear of some sort, be it extravagant slippers or elegant shoes.

    She could always just casually take them off (with a very, very seductive expression… ).

  20. Orangey says:

    In-credible. I am glad you are almost finished this monster, as expected your work is beyond the capabilities of a normal human being. The strong turqoise contrast is brilliant.

  21. Crystal says:

    I think the Manchu slippers on tall pedestals sounds wonderful and very appropriate. I hear they bound the woman’s feet to make them the shape of a lotus blossom which they thought very sexy.But I’m sure you already knew that. :)

  22. J. David says:

    That is embrodery is so stunning I want to eat my fist! What a treature!
    I say yes to the pedestal shoes.

  23. angelitka says:

    I’ve been waiting for it. Became one of my favorites when I first time saw it some long time ago already.
    Wonderful work!

  24. noxy says:

    Oh, I’m so glad Cixi is still being worked on. I often wonder about her – she was whom I most fell in love with during the solo show in Wisconsin. I vote no shoes, as much as it almost pains me to say. I adore ED shoes, and the thought of slippers on pedestals sounds beyond lovely, but I also love more the idea of Cixi being barefoot. Of Cixi delighting so much in the gorgeous bead work that is her robe that she needs nothing else.

    But I wouldn’t object either way really. If she asks for shoes, she asks for shoes.

  25. Algesiras says:

    Such impressive work, I’m speechless! *___*

  26. Astera says:

    Splendid and regal! You always surprise me with your patience and umbelievable immagination.

    As for the shoes…it’s a tough call. I love the idea of the amazing creations you would come up with for the occasion. On the other hand if you want to be historically accurate, maybe you should follow MissLK’s reccomendation.

    The thing is that Cixi is wearing a superb robe, an intricate and voluminous hairstyle…should her feet be naked? My feeling is that it would be best to have some equally grandious adornament for her pretty extremities…for balance sake…but then again my perception of balance is warped sometimes! :D

  27. Ethel says:

    yay!!! fianlly!!! it’s absolutely gorgeous!!! jia yo Marina!!!! ❤

  28. Kate says:

    Wow how beautiful! What an impressive undertaking, and so fun to follow. Since Cixi is an empress now, extravagant and rich, I say do indulge yourself by making some beautiful bed slippers!

  29. Emily P says:

    Titanic indeed!!! Painfully beautiful, congrats Marina!

    Every woman needs a gorgeous pair of shoes, (several in my case) especially on her wedding night! What is more powerfully enchanting than a woman in beautiful underwear with a great pair of heels!? :P

    can’t WAIT to see it all together!

  30. dal says:

    I agree with Candace! Wonderful shoes for sure esp if she was Manchu and fought against binding of the feet.
    This is exquisite – you definitely do have “angel hands”!

  31. maria soares says:

    Amazing hard work!Please do the shoes, extravagante shoes, because, i thinkl that she’ll not show her feets without shoes!Marina, you do amazing art work!Unique!I love yuor work!Thanks for existe and for doing this dolls and her acessories!

  32. Martin says:

    This hard work is amazing. It was owrth every bleeding finger you had as a result of sewing and sewing and sewing…

  33. Jayne Wourms says:

    I saw Cixi’s gown at DragonSpace when just the sleeve was beaded and I was gobsmacked! It is so beautiful. The little emerald green beads seem to pop against the background of the turquoise and the red. It is so funny, I just remember that gown so well.

  34. Jayne Wourms says:

    Ops, almost forgot… a girl can never have too many shoes!

  35. Ocean says:

    She should absolutely have shoes! The embroidery is just stunning! Good work!

  36. Suok69 says:

    Your work is very beautiful as always. Its beyond of my imagination. Just to imagine the amount of work that you’ve put into this dress… Bravo, bravisimo….

    Happy Birthday, Marina!!! All the best to you.

  37. Orangey says:

    Happy Birthday, Marina! I left you a little animation on the ED forum. Have a great day!~

  38. Amy says:

    Gorgeous! I particularly love the contrast of the larger gems–emeralds? And the detail of the tiny blue beads is AMAZING.

    I vote for shoes! The ones you were planning sound exquisite, but I like the chamber slippers idea just a tad bit more–it seems like it fits the theme of her wardrobe better (almost as if Cixi is asking for them).

  39. Habox says:


    About shoes I wanted to say: it would be very nice, if its were combination of metal and softy-bids technic.

  40. An Bidault says:

    You’re just the most amazing crazy pearson in the world! (in the best of ways :)). I think I wouldn’t stand it.. TWO YEARS?? haha
    I’ll choose SHOES! totally.

  41. Fiona says:

    WOW!I really love this strong contract of colors.

  42. RR says:

    Happy Birthday Marina.

    Cixi’s gown is gorgeous, and I can’t get over the beautiful beadwork. Have you beaded it also with real sapphires. It really looks that way.

    There are couture gowns that cost a couple hundred thousand dollars that are not as beautiful as this.

    Thank you, and ALL THE BEST for an even better year. Cheers to your every happiness.

  43. Odile says:

    Happy Birthday and welcome to the big 30 nice to see that following dreams can be such a success! Hope you have had a wonderful day and very excited to read what the outcome of the challenge is.

    You are truly an artist!

  44. Laquisha says:

    Haha. I woke up down today. YouÂ’ve cehreed me up!

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