Kabuki costume (jimbaori)

Man's vest

Meiji era
19th century

Object Place: Japan


83.8 x 53.7 cm (33 x 21 1/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Silk 5/1 twill embroidered with silk and gold metallic wrapped thread

Not On View


Asia, Textiles and Fashion Arts



Man’s dark blue silk Kabuki theater vest (jimbaori) with a rolled, turned down collar extending to the lower front edge and silk tie cords with tassels at the sides and front. The overall design is of undulating vertical lines (tatewaku) and scrollwork (karakusa) surrounding roundels containing pine, paulownia, dragons, phoenix, clouds, Chinese lions, peony, chrysanthemum, bamboo, plum and water. Also scattered are good-luck symbols and treasures including paired scrolls, jewels, horn cups, axes, keys and mallets embroidered in brown, green, white, yellow, blue, orange, pink, purple and gilt paper-covered thread. This vest is for the role of a general at court.


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