Exhibitions/ Art Object

鳳凰模様袈裟
Buddhist Priest's Vestment (Kesa) with Phoenix

Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
19th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Silk and metallic thread tapestry
Dimensions:
Overall: 44 x 80 in. (111.8 x 203.2 cm)
Classification:
Textiles-Costumes
Credit Line:
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1919
Accession Number:
19.93.119
Not on view
A spectacular phoenix with cascading tail feathers dominates this large tapestry-like expanse of fabric; below it is a branch of paulownia. As a motif, this fantastic creature reached Japan from China. According to Chinese tradition, the phoenix appears at times of peace and prosperity, singing in a paulownia tree during the just rule of a benevolent emperor. This is a Japanese Buddhist priest’s vestment (kesa), an outer garment usually worn draped over the left shoulder. Traditionally kesa are made of many small pieces sewn together in a configuration of columns. This kesa was woven in one piece; however, the columnar design is indicated with a cord that is sewn to the surface.
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