Antique Japanese Straw Raincoat Mino Kappa

Offered is a very rare early Meiji era (1868-1890) Japanese raincoat, known as a "mino". It is also sometimes referred to as a "kappa" because it resembled the seaweed hanging on the back of the mythic half man half turtle Shinto creature called Kappa. This coat is handwoven from rice straw and was worn by farmers in their daily outdoor work duties in bad weather. Similar coats were worn by the Samurai, although these were usually more ornate. Images of Samurai mino are frequently depicted in woodblock prints. The raincoat offered here was found in a rural area near Kyoto. It was worn by tying the upper strap around the neck and the lower around the waist. It would cover the back and lower torso, and would be most effective when bent over, as working in a field. The dimensions are 36" wide, 41" long, and 3" thick.

Condition: Given its age and the fact that this was a working garment, the coat is in remarkable condition. In the first two photos one can see that the lower section to one side has worn away, but the binding and ties are still intact and functional. The first photo is the outside of the coat. The straw is fragile and will not tolerate much handling. This piece is a museum quality artifact and needs to be mounted in a protected case or behind glass to preserve it. It is strong enough to be mounted on a model to
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