A Pictorial Resist Dyed 19th Century Pilgrim's Coat: Hand Spun Cotton

$395.00 USD

late nineteenth century
37" x 48", 94 cm x 122 cm

This is a beautiful--and a beautifully unusual--resist dyed coat which was used by a pilgrim whose pilgrimage place was Omine san, a sacred site in Japan because its monastery was founded by En no Gyoja, a historically important Japanese ascetic and mystic and the founder of Shugendo.

Shugendo is a religious practice that requires a great deal of physical endurance as it is usually performed in mountain forests and rivers. Many of the exercises tests one's physical and mental limits in the service of finding truth and enlightenment.

This jacket was worn by a pilgrim or yamabushi, a practitioner of Shugendo and its blue color and its many colored resisted image (that includes hand painted details) makes it a very unusual type of pilgrim's coat.

The image at top seems to be a conch which was used to make noises during religious rituals; there is a delightfully drawn tasseled cord which embellishes this image. The name of the mountain, Omine san, is shown in resist dyed kanji or characters.

The coat is hand woven from beautiful hand spun cotton yarns. Two red stamps, probably received at a temple on Mt. Omine, are applied to the coat.

As can easily be seen there is wear to the coat in the form of small holes (shown) and a spray of rust-colored stains.

A truly beautiful pilgrim's jacket and one of type that is rarely seen.

Very recommended.