20th century
54.5 in WIDE
(138.43 cm WIDE)
Gift of Mrs. Mary Lew Chinn

Mandarin jacket of black silk satin with well executed floral embroidery include many branches of blossoms and many peonies. Satin stitch and slpt stitch are used the most for the floral embroidery, with very small "Forbidden Stitch" knots at the center of many of the flowers and blossoms. The front placket is decorated with vine-like flowers on either side. The jacket fastens down the front with delicate frog closures made of black and green, in a trefoil with black knot buttons to fit in the black loop button holes. The stand-up collar is stiff and has three sets of frogs, loops and buttons. There are six sets of closures down the front; there is a pair of embroidered tabs that hang down from the final set of frog/loop/buttons. The tab on the proper right is embroidered and trimmed with fine pale green satin piping; the proper left tab is also embroidered and is trimmed with pale pink satin piping. The edges of the jacket, around the neckline, around the small slit in the back hem, around the collar and around the sleeves are all trimmed with alternating bands of the fine pale gree and pale pink satin piping in what almost appears to be an "M" motif. The jacket is lined in a cream colored silk that is brocaded in gold colored modern motifs, perhaps stylized blossoms and stylized leaf designs.

Mrs. Mary Chinn wore this jacket at her wedding in 1940. She also wore it when she christened a ship at the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond during World War II. A family friend, so dear to the family that Mary Chinn called him "uncle," Wah Hing Lew, was employed at the shipyards. Through his employment, he won the opportunity to select a person to christen a ship. He chose his "niece" Mary Chinn. She christened the ship and her family was able to witness the event; this included her daughter Bette (see 2005.42.1). Mrs. Chinn always wore this jacket for special events. The last time she wore it was for a charity fashion show, organized by her daughter Bette. (See 2005.43.2 for a snap shot of the final time Mrs. Chinn wore her jacket.)

Used: Mary Chinn | Adult ~ female | Chinese American | Wedding | Ship launching | Richmond | World War II

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