Buddhist priest's robe (kesa)

late Edo or Meiji-Taisho era
latter half of the 19th to early 20th century

Object Place: Japan


Height x width: 115 x 200 x 200 cm (45 1/4 x 78 3/4 x 78 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Silk, gilt paper; lampas with 2/1 twill foundation and 1/2 twill supplementary weave (nishiki); pieced and appliquéd

Not On View


Asia, Textiles and Fashion Arts



Seven-columned kesa with decoration of waves, coral, and winged dragons.The white ground is covered with straight and curving bands of light blue, light green and gold. The design is woven with bright red, violet, green, light blue, white and gold.

Columns, dividing bands, border: white silk ground with figured patterns of waves, cypress fences, coral, gems, and winged dragons. Cypress fence motifs are overlaid on a background pattern of stylized waves. The float pattern, beginning with the lowest register, consists of coral, gems, and winged dragons in horizontgal bands. Shiten, niten: red silk three-harness warp-faced twill ground with woven-in patterns of clouds and the myriad treasures in discontinuous supplementary wefts of flat gold-leafed paper thread. The design resembles Tomita kinran. Cords are attached to the niten. 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