Padded vest
Paper, vegetable fiber, waste silk

This vest, once worn by a Japanese monk, raises numerous interesting questions. It appears to have been made by someone almost entirely untutored in traditional Japanese clothing construction, and is a testament to the maker’s ingenuity. Although the art of paper making in Japan was highly refined, the paper fibers of this vest are randomly long and short, thick and thin, dark and pale, and lack the warm texture of traditional paper. The only stitches, large and clumsy, are at the shoulders, where traditionally there should be uncut fabric. By contrast, the waste silk padding is very uniform, and may have been recycled from another garment.

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