Buddhist Altar Cloth (Uchishiki)


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 199

The Buddhist altar cloth (uchishiki) serves to cover the tops of tables and altars, especially the one placed in front of the temple’s main icon. This example here is decorated with lotus flowers in a roundel surrounded by large geometric patterns (hakogata) on a dark blue ground. Lotus flowers are revered in Japan for their ability to rise from muddy waters to become beautiful blossoms, and they are commonly associated with purity and the Buddhist achievement of enlightenment.

Buddhist Altar Cloth (Uchishiki), Twill-weave silk with supplementary weft patterning, Japan

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.