Japanese Black and Natural Fisherman’s Ceremonial Coat | Hemp (asa) | Late Edo Period

This type of garment was ONLY worn for yearly festivals and celebration, and not for daily wear. The Hemp Fisherman’s Ceremonial Coat is in good condition except for some areas of wear due to the age of the fibers. At one time, the owner patched the shoulders to preserve the piece (Mottainai Philosophy). We recommend that the piece be used for display and encased in an acrylic box to preserve this museum quality garment. The coat is dated approximately 1868-1900 (late Edo early Meiji period). The aspect that makes this coat most unusual, rare and collectible is the sail (maritime) motif. The garment has been professionally cleaned. Dimensions:70”w x 26”L.

Additional Information—

This Kudzu-fu is made of Hemp, (asa), and stenciled with black ink to form natural-color sails repeated as the main motif. As the Japanese are a fishing culture, this lightweight Fisherman’s Ceremonial Coat is thought to be from the southern part of Honshu, perhaps from the west side of the Sea of Japan, known for its numerous fishing villages. With its contrasting graphic design, and pattern, it is a fine piece of visual art as it was originally intended.

The crest (mon) on the back and both sides of the front lapel is that of the Oak Leaf, (kaji-ba) and used as a commemorative crest by the Matsura family of Kaji-tani, (Oak Valley), in Hirado, a port town on an island off the coast of Kyushu. In very ancient times the oak leaf was used as kind of dish on which to serve things, and from this it soon became associated with offerings to the gods.

Further research notes that the sail motif may have reference to the Seven Lucky Gods Treasure Ship (Takarabune), which is a very popular Japanese folklore. As a group, these seven deities are known as the “Shichifukujin”. They symbolize the essential virtues of man.

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