Japanese Silk Brocade Kesa 19Th C Brocade

Clive Rogers

Japanese silk brocade Kesa • 19th C

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190 x 120 cm
明治時代 
Buddhist priest’s vestment • Edo or Meiji

Some Kesa vestments were originally made from old scraps of material donated to the priests. Some devotees who gave to Buddhist institutions were often keen to give very expensive items, so some kesas were created from wonderful silk brocades such as our example seen here in 'Satsuma' type colouring. The use of old material reflects the position of the Buddha who went about in rags. These are worn draped over the shoulder by the priest. The term derives from the sanskrit word kasaya (mixed up an allusion to the dying process). Within each garment the fragments are typically arranged within a framed border of a series of columns numbering 7 to 25 which indicated not only the function but also the rank of the wearer. Attached cords helped hold the kesa in place.