The Chinese Empress Barbie Doll is part of the Great Eras Collection. The product code is 16708. There was also a Hong Kong 1997 Commemorative Edition.



Collector Edition

the Great Eras collection®



16708 MATTEL®

Left Side

the Great Eras collection®


Barbie® Doll

VOLUME TEN for collecters over 14

16708 MATTEL®


the Great Eras collection®


Travel through time with Barbie! This enchanting series takes you on an exciting journey to famous epochs from yesteryear. Each numbered volume presents an exquisitely created Barbie doll in the dress, hair and makeup of the chosen era. There's so much to see and learn as you collect these very special editions to display, cherish and enjoy into the future!


Inside of Front

Welcome Chinese Empress™ Barbie®, a woman of royal birth and stature, whose beautiful costume symbolizes much in Chinese history. Almost every aspect of her ornate costume has meaning and tradition within the hierarchy of the Chinese social status.

From head to toe, each piece of Chinese Empress Barbie doll's costume merits description. Beginning with her hat, called a Manchu Cap or Chao Guan. Long ago the cap had an ornament that indicated the rank of the wearer; it could be bronze, crystal or jade. Her elaborate satin coat, Chao Pao, is emblazoned with a four-toed dragon, symbolizing her rank as a female member of the Chinese royal family; only males were allowed to wear the five-toed dragon. The sleeves of the coat are long enough to cover the Empress' fingertips--as a member of royalty, her hands must be kept covered. Underneath her gown, the mandarin collar jacquard dress, Chao Qua, is in yellow, a color reserved for Chinese royalty. She wears red slippers fitted over molded platforms, typical of the period. Her jewelry is faux jade, the official "jewel" of the royal family. She wears faux jade drop earrings and one "jade and one "golden" necklace, the Chao Zhu whose length also indicated her rank.

This beautifully created costume was typical of turn of the century robes worn by the Dowager Empress Tz'u-hsi who reigned from 1861-1908 during the Ch'ing Dynasty, 1644-1911. This was the last dynasty and marked a turbulent time in Chinese history. Toward the end of her reign, the Dowager Empress attempted to bring China in line with her European neighbors--she established schools for both boys and girls where Chinese and Western subjects would be taught.

Chinese Empress Barbie captures the ritual beauty and traditions of the Chinese royal family. By combining symbols of the past and present, her costume tells us much about the royal family and how they lived.


© 1996 Barbie Collectibles, the Barbie® Collectible/Specialty Doll Division of Mattel, Inc., El Segundo, CA 90245 U.S.A. MADE IN CHINA. Manufactured for Mattel. All Rights Reserved. ® and ™ designate U.S. trademarks of Mattel, Inc. DOLL STAND INCLUDED. Doll body © 1966, and 1992 or 1994 Mattel, Inc.

PRODUCT: Chinese Empress™ BARBIE® Doll
AGE GRADE: For collectors over 14.
CONTENTS: 11 1/2" (29 cm.) Barbie doll, coat, dress, hat, slippers, earrings, necklace, labeled doll stand, reply card.