A Shugenjagi: Hand Spun Heavily Woven Cotton Kimono with Magical Stamps

$475.00 USD

early twentieth century
52 1/2" x 47", 133.5 cm x 119.5 cm

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

Hand drawn on the back of the coat are characters written in what the Japanese call Bonji or Siddham script a kind of ancient Indian writing system. The syllables here are probably seed syllables for a mantra.

What can also be seen on the back of the coat are faint, reddish-toned stamps. This indicates that this coat was worn when the Shugendo practitioner made visits to Buddhist temples during the course of a prescribed pilgrimage.

The coat shows a good amount of surface wear and the heavily woven hand spun cotton is wonderful to feel in the hand.

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