Apr 18, 2007

Buddhist Vestment (Kesa)

Buddhist Vestment (Kesa)


early 1900s

Silk with supplementary weft, brocaded; metal thread

Overall: 119.4 x 205.7 cm (47 x 81 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Wade 1916.1340


Did you know?

This kesa depicts bird cages, but all the birds portrayed fly free.


Kesa are Buddhist monastic robes that originated in India. The robes are named after the brown or saffron dye originally used in their production. The primary motif on this seven-paneled kesa is a long-tailed bird with a flower in its mouth. This motif was imported from Persia (present-day Iran) through China during the Nara period (710–794)and is interpreted as a positive symbol. The bird delivers happiness in its mouth.

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