Seven-Panel Buddhist Monk’s Vestment (Shichijō kesa) with Floral-Lozenge Pattern


Not on view

The bestowal of the Buddhist master’s vestment (kesa) upon the disciple represents the transmission of the dharma (teaching). This is especially true in Zen Buddhism, as only the master can recognize that the disciple is on the way to—or has reached—enlightenment. Kesa thus indicate the rank of the owner within the religious hierarchy, and are treasured vestments associated with those who wore them. As a reminder of the Buddha’s simple, patched garment, small rectangular pieces of fabric are sewn together to form one kesa, worn diagonally over the left shoulder. This vestment has been created from cut-up pieces of a Noh costume (karaori), which was perhaps a religious offering.

Seven-Panel Buddhist Monk’s Vestment (Shichijō kesa) with Floral-Lozenge Pattern, Twill-weave silk with supplementary weft patterning, Japan

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