Buddhist Textiles

The kesa is the classic garment of the Japanese Buddhist clergy. The origin of the term kesa is from the Sanskrit word, kashaya, meaning colorless or of neutral coloration, signifying asceticism on the part of the wearer. The Japanese kesa is an iteration of this 'colorless' mendicant garb which was originally meant to be a garment of rags. Over time the Indian kashaya was transformed into a luxuriously crafted, silk brocade kesa, whose piece construction is a reference to its ragged origins.