Buddhist priest's robe (kesa)

Meiji era
latter half of the 19th century

Object Place: Japan


Height x width: 121 x 201 cm (47 5/8 x 79 1/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Nishiki, silk, gilt paper; 2/1 weave with continuous (gilt paper) and discontinuous (silk) supplementary wefts bound in 1\2 twill order; pieced and appliquéd

Not On View


Asia, Textiles and Fashion Arts



Seven-columned kesa with decoration of lotus petals floating on water. Columns, dividing bands, border: green silk ground with figured patterns of running water and floating lotus petals. The flat gold-leafed paper yarn is very thin. In addition to the flat gold-leafed paper and single-color threads, two differently colored threads are twisted to form one weft yarn. A red, round braided cord is attached in two places to the outer fabric. Shiten, niten: red silk three-harness warp-faced twill ground with woven-in patterns of butterfly roundels and clouds in supplementary wefts of flat gold-leafed paper thread. Lining: silk plain-weave fabric of degummed red warps and degummed indigo wefts.


By 1911, purchased by William Sturgis Bigelow (b. 1850 - d. 1926), Boston [see note 1]; 1911, gift of Bigelow to the MFA. (Accession Date: August 3, 1911)

[1] Much of Bigelow's collection of Asian art was formed during his residence in Japan between 1882 and 1889, although he also made acquisitions in Europe and the United States. Bigelow deposited many of these objects at the MFA in 1890 before donating them to the Museum's collection at later dates.

Credit Line

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection