Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Kesa (Buddhist priest’s robe)

Kesa (Buddhist priest’s robe)

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)
    Kyoto (probably, woven)

  • Date:

    1800-1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Polychrome figured gauze silk, lined with figured satin silk

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr T. B. Clark-Thornhill

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This textile is a ‘kesa’, the rectangular garment worn by Japanese Buddhist priests. Kesa are made of a sewn patchwork of cloth, the arrangement of the sections of fabric into columns surrounded by a border serving as a mandala, a symbolic rendering of the universe. The act of sewing the garment is in itself a devotional pursuit. This detail of the kesa shows how the sections of fabric have been almost perfectly aligned so as not to disrupt the elegant design of grapevines.

Physical description

Buddhist priest's mantle (kesa) of gauze silk with design of grape vines, lined with satin silk with peonies and scrolling leaves.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)
Kyoto (probably, woven)


1800-1850 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Polychrome figured gauze silk, lined with figured satin silk


Length: 105 cm, Width: 211 cm

Object history note

Registered File number 1973/946.

Descriptive line

Kesa (Buddhist priest’s robe), polychrome figured gauze silk, lined with figured satin silk, probably woven in Kyoto, Japan, 1800-1880

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Jackson, Anna. Japanese textiles. London: V&A Publications, 2000, Plates 7, 34, pp. 18, 21.


Silk (textile)


Gauze weave; Satin weave

Subjects depicted

Peonies; Vines


Textiles; Buddhism; Religion; Clothing


East Asia Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.