Antique Japanese light summer kesa (Buddhist Priest’s vestment). Made with a sheer layer of black silk embroidered with silver crayfish medallions and lined with white silk.
Often described as a mantel or robe, the kesa is worn draped diagonally over the left shoulder and under the right armpit. Meant as a reminder of the Buddha’s own simple patched garment, kesa are formed from many fragments of cloth. Within each garment, the fragments are typically organized in a series of columns framed by a border with angled corners. The number of columns, indicates both the specific function of that garment and also the rank of the wearer within the religious hierarchy. Four small additional squares act to reinforce points of stress from wear but have symbolic value as well. The fabrics used to make kesa are from reused garments – Noh theatricial robes, kimonos even Chinese robes, donated to temples by wealthy devotees. This fine silk kesa has been lovingly patched and restored.
Age: Meiji Period (1868-1912)
Dimensions: 47″ high x 65″ long