Offered by: Tishu
By appointment only Atlanta, GA 30327 , United States Call Seller 305.400.0561


Antique Japanese Brocade Kesa Monk's Robe Meiji Period

$ 5,800
  • Description
    A stunning Japanese Kesa (Monk's Vestment) made from thirteen columns of patchworks of shimmering woven brocades. The elaborate motifs feature repetitive Hababishi (four petal flowers) diamond. Across that background, small cartouches of various shapes showcase miniature vignettes of landscapes. Six silk square in contrasting bright orange and gold were sewn to the four corners and one longitude side of the Kesa, completing the symbolism of the robe. The four squares in the corners represent the Four Heavenly Kings (Shi Tenno); while the two slightly larger squares in the middle section represent two compassionate bodhisattvas. The patches were apparently taken from a silk panel with imagery of a dragon as part of the scales on the body are still discernible. The back of the Kesa was lined with a red silk with a subtle woven pattern, which might be a later replacement as it often happened.
    Kesa is derived from the Sanskrit word kasaya, meaning “dark colored,” a reference to the saffron colored robes worn by early Indian Buddhist monks. It is essentially a rectangular cloth originally sewn from patches of rags, being formless, it serves as a symbolism of the ascetic life of one's choosing. In Japan, since at least the Heian period (794–1185), the kesa has been worn by Buddhist priests as their outermost robe, draped over the left shoulder and attached under the right armpit. While it served some function of protection, it was more a signal of the wearer’s faith, and became increasingly elaborate over the centuries. During the Edo period (1600–1868), many kesa worn were patched together from exquisite silk brocade fabrics that were donated to the temples by members of the aristocracy, ruling military class, or wealthy merchants. By stitching the fabric into a patchwork robe, the monks concentrated their attention on the creation of a devotional work of art, every stitch part of an act of meditation on the teachings of the Buddha. The number of stripes (from 5 to up to 25) indicates the wearer’s rank and the occasion for which it was worn, the highest number of stripes usually only being worn by an abbot during festival ceremonies. The normal daily kesa generally have seven columns. The kesa on offer is more likely a ceremonial robe for special occasion.
    The condition of this piece is exceptional for antique textile.
  • More Information
    Origin: Japan
    Period: 19th Century
    Materials: brocade and silk
    Condition: Good. Fine antique textile condition. One of the best Kesa we've had, quality and condition wise. Expected minor wear in keeping with age, a couple of thread loose and some pin holes. Backing with minor fading and a couple of tiny pin holes as well.
    Creation Date: 1880s-1900
    Styles / Movements: Asian, Traditional
    Patterns: Asian/Oriental, Florals/Botanical, Geometric, Handmade
    Incollect Reference #: 600278
  • Dimensions
    W. 76 in; H. 45 in; D. 0.2 in;
    W. 193.04 cm; H. 114.3 cm; D. 0.51 cm;
Message from Seller:

Our collection ranges from Neolithic Art to 20th century collectible art and design. It spans 5000 thousand years of history and crosses many civilizations and cultures. Our aesthetic strongholds are Mid-century studio design, Japanese and Korean art, Asian Textile Art and Contemporary Aboriginal Art. The diversity is united behind our singular vision to seek for timeless beauty and driven purely by our passion

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