The chyrpyis a loose fitting woman’s cloak that is worn over the head and shoulders. The vestigial sleeves, which hark back to an earlier use of real cloaks as head coverings, are now purely decorative. They always appear at the back as ornamental flaps joined with a woven or embroidered band. The colour of a chyrpyis closely related to the age of the wearer: dark blue or black for young women; yellow for a mature adult; and white for the elderly. Motifs range from geometric shapes to stylised flowering shrubs, simple tree of life forms and tulips – a symbol of fertility. The chyrpyof younger women are the most richly embroidered, using a lacing stitch known as kesdi.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label