Buddhist Vestment (Kesa) Made from a Noh Costume (Karaori) with Autumn Grasses and Butterflies
Not on view
Buddhist vestments were often made from donated garments or textiles. Perhaps ironically, this kesa, once used by an old monk, was probably fashioned from a gorgeous eighteenth-century karaori, a type of costume worn by a male actor playing the role of a young woman in a Noh play. Karaori (translated literally as "Chinese weaving”) is also the name of a type of multicolored brocaded silk, and this textile has a pattern of butterflies and autumn grasses on a ground of blue and red. The autumn plants all belong to the standard group of seven used in Japanese art and poetry: bush clover (hagi); Chinese bellflower (kikyō); miscanthus grass (obana); “purple trousers” flower (fujibakama); large pink (nadeshiko); pampas grass (susuki), and valerian, sometimes called maiden flower (ominaeshi).