Exhibitions/ Art Object

Surcoat (Jinbaori)

Probably 18th century
Body and crest: Europe, possibly Netherlands, 17th–18th century; wool Lapels: probably China, 17th–18th century; lampas, silk, and gilt-paper strips Shoulder pieces: Europe, 1760s; silk brocaded with silk- and metal-wrapped thread
42.5 x 31 in (108 x 78.7 cm)
Credit Line:
John C. Weber Collection
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.