A Pilgrim's Sleeveless Garment: Hand Writing on Hand Stitched Cotton

$95.00 USD

early to mid twentieth century
30" x 13", 76 cm x 33 cm

This beautiful and simple cotton pilgrim's sleeveless garment is hand stitched and shows a vertical row of hand writing down the center of the proper back of the vest.

It is the type of jacket worn by Buddhist pilgrims as they travel a prescribed pilgrimage route and as they make their way from one temple to the other along the route.

Often, especially in the old days, this pilgrimage was done on foot and was an arduous and time-consuming act of devotion. Therefore garments such as these show a good deal of wear; this one shows some lightly ingrained dirt and some stains, possibly foxing (shown on detail photos here) which make it clear that this garment was worn in the service of a pilgrimage.

The red colored stamps also indicate that temples were visited as a stamp was received from each temple the pilgrim prayed in.

The hand writing on the back seems to read "Namu Amida Butsu" which can be translated to mean "total reliance upon the compassion of Amida Buddha." This indicates that the pilgrim was part of or practiced Jodo Shu Buddhism.

A very good looking garment and one that has served its wearer well--and must have good vibes, which are especially important now.

Also, written on the inside, bottom of the vest is the name of the owner, "Arahori Mie."  

Since the name Mie is written with a character that was made officially obsolete in 1947 we can assume this garment dates to around that time or before, placing it somewhere in the first half of the 20th century