A Shungenja gi: An Esoteric Religion Practitioner's Robe

$395.00 USD

early twentieth century
47 1/2" x 49", 120.65 cm x 124.5 cm

This is a completely hand stitched kimono made of 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. 

Resist dyed on the back of the coat are five 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. Two resist bonji also appear on the front of the garment.

The garment shows a fair amount of wear but there are no obvious stains or ingrained dirt and it is still in fine, sturdy condition.

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