A Shugenja Coat: An Esoteric Religion Practitioner's Jacket

$375.00 USD

early twentieth century
35" x 48", 89 cm x 122 cm

This is a completely hand stitched jacket made of hand spun, hand woven cotton dyed in a medium-to-dark grey tone.

It is the type of garment worn by the practitioners of Shugendo, a syncretic religion based in ancient, mystical folk practices that includes elements of mountain worship, Shinto, Taoism and esoteric Buddhism.

Those who practice Shugendo put themselves through physically arduous training practices that include all sorts of austerities in nature, such as meditating under waterfalls and tirelessly--and using superhuman physical exertion--encircling sacred mountains on foot. 

Also stamped on the coat in black ink is large, sacred images of what appears to the founder of Shugendo, En no Gyouja, a kind of ascetic superman. This image is on the proper left, back of the coat. On the proper right, back of the coat we see an image of Fudo Myoo.

Hand drawn on the back of the coat are three characters written in bonji, a kind of proto-Tibetan syllabery for lack of a better description, maybe a better one being it is a form of Sanskrit or an ancient Indian writing system. The syllables here are probably seed syllables for a mantra.

The coat shows a good amount of wear and pay special attention to the front of the coat where you can see a good amount of very obvious light fading, ingrained wear from use and staining, all evidence or traces of the ascetic practices done by the original owner of this magical body covering.

This is a really beautiful cotton shugenja kimono and has good age and wonderful, imagistic stamps. One can only imagine the personal history contained within the threads of this powerful garb.