Exhibitions/ Art Object

Buddhist Vestment (Kesa)

Edo period (1615–1868)
18th century
Lampas, silk; squares:silk satin, brocaded, silk and gilt paper-wrapped thread
46 x 83 in. (116.84 x 210.82 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1919
Accession Number:
Not on view
This patchwork-patterned Japanese Buddhist vestment (kesa) was made from Chinese cloth intended for the European market. The primary textile attempts to emulate European lace-patterned woven silks, but the composition is somewhat awkward compared to actual European examples. The six red squares—with their dragon roundels, clouds, and flowers—are more characteristically Chinese in style. While the European style of the cloth is unexpected, the Japanese had been using exotic Chinese textiles for kesa for centuries.
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