Art of Asia
- Edo period, an introduction
- Tea bowl with dragon roundels
- Scenes from The Tale of Genji
- Genji Ukifune
- Dog chasing
- A portrait of St. Francis Xavier and Christianity in Japan
- Ogata Kōrin, Red and White Plum Blossoms
- Hon’ami Kōetsu, Folding Screen mounted with poems
- Archery practice
- The evolution of ukiyo-e and woodblock prints
- Utagawa Kunisada I, Visiting Komachi, from the series Modern Beauties as the Seven Komachi
- Hokusai, Under the Wave off Kanagawa (The Great Wave)
- Beyond the Great Wave — Hokusai at 90
- Hokusai’s printed illustrated books
- Hokusai, Five Beautiful Women
- The Floating World of Edo Japan
- Hunting for fireflies
- Street scene in the pleasure quarter of Edo Japan
- Courtesan playing with a cat
- Courtesans of the South Station
- An introduction to Kabuki theater
- The actor Ichikawa Danzo IV in a Shibaraku role
- Fire procession costume
- Arrival of a Portuguese ship
- Matchlock gun and pistol
- Military camp jacket
- Military leader's fan
- An American ship
- The steamship Powhatan
- Conserving the Gan Ku Tiger scroll painting at the British Museum
Military camp jacket
How was this jacket used?
The military camp jacket (jinbaori) was worn over a suit of “modern equipment” or tosei gusoku armor. Though some jackets had sleeves, many were sleeveless vests like this one. The camp jacket offered protection from the elements, but were also personalized fashion statements; their bold patterns, rich materials, and striking color contrasts were designed to leave a memorable impression. Whether worn on the battlefield or during ceremonial occasions, the camp jacket clearly proclaimed the wearer’s status, clan affiliations, and wealth.
What materials were used to make this garment? Why are they unusual or significant?
The red exterior fabric is a type of woolen cloth treated and shrunk for a dense, felted finish. Prized for its warmth and durability, the fabric was a status symbol available only to the rich and powerful. A luxury in a country without sheep, wool fabrics had to be imported from Europe. Lining the jacket is gold brocade, and its epaulets, made of an exotic animal fur, heighten the sumptuous effect.
How does the design of the jacket relate to its function?
Cut away deeply under the arms, the jacket would have fit comfortably over a suit of armor. A long back vent allowed for ease of movement, especially important for a mounted warrior. Horizontally centered at the back is an embroidered family crest (mon), an emblem identifying the wearer to other samurai. The crest, in the form of a peony, was used by a number of military families during the Edo period.