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Surcoat (Jinbaori)


Not on view

Woolen cloth was Europe’s chief textile export and was sold, traded, and gifted by Europeans wherever they sailed. Jinbaori were worn over a samurai’s armor, the wool providing warmth and protection from the elements. Samurai wore such garments with pride particularly because of the wool’s prominent status as an exotic import, since sheep were not raised in Japan. Red wool cloth was particularly desirable for trade. Europeans achieved the rich scarlet hue by combining a tin mordant with cochineal dye from Mexico.

Surcoat (Jinbaori), Body and crest: Europe, possibly Netherlands, 17th–18th century; woolLapels: probably China, 17th–18th century; lampas, silk, and gilt-paper stripsShoulder pieces: Europe, 1760s; silk brocaded with silk- and metal-wrapped thread, Japan

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front of garment with sides open showing golden silk lining