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Antique Japanese Buddhist Textile, Priest Ohi and Kesa

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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Pre 1920: item # 1143164

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Kamigyo-ku Kyoto 602-8385
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Antique Japanese Buddhist Textile, Priest Ohi and Kesa
Why save the best for last, here is a spectacular Meiji period Kesa made of strips of floral patterned brocade interspersed with green silk squares backed with regal purple silk. It is accompanied by a smaller piece of the same design called Ohi, a sash worn along with the Kesa. The Kesa is 80 x 44-1/2 inches (203 x 112.5 cm), the smaller Ohi 12 x 57 inches (31 x 146 cm). A fabulous wall hanging, they are overall in good condition, with wear through in the center of the fold on the Ohi, and a tear in the tie loop on the back of the kesa.
The unusual pattern of Kesa (Kasaya in Sanskrit) is based on the garment worn by the Buddha, purportedly made by him from scraps of funerary cloths picked up along the banks of the sacred Ganges. It is said the Buddha’s Kesa was 10 feet long. The design of kesa is a symbol of the Mandala, the four corners protected by patches representing the four Guardians of the Cardinal points of the universe. At the top of the third and fifth columns are patches representing the Buddhas of benevolence and wisdom. The oldest examples of Kesa in Japan date from the 8th century.


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