Lee B. Lok (1869-1942) immigrated to San Francisco from Guangdong Province, China in 1881 and soon after moved to New York City's Chinatown where he worked in the Quong Yuen Shing & Co. store.
Lee B. Lok ordered this gown from China to wear at the 1896 arrival ceremony in New York of Li Hongzhang, emissary of the Empress Dowager of China. Soon after Lee came to America he abandoned Chinese clothes for daily use and cut his queue. However on special occasions Lee wore clothing that identified him as Chinese. This Manchu style gown splits at the back, front, and both sides to allow for easy movement on horseback – a reflection of the Manchu people’s equestrian background.