Rain Cape, T89.0180
Posted: Jan 8th, 2020 | Featured Objects

With rain in the forecast, our Object of the Moment will help protect you from those "April showers!"

In China, Japan and elsewhere, renewable plant resources from local environments have been used since ancient times to make clothing — one example is the Chinese palm-bark rain cape. Beautifully designed, yet practical in function, it effectively funnels the rain away from the wearer, at the same time providing ventilation. Worn with a large hat made of split bamboo, it is an indispensable garment for working in the fields and for protection while fishing.

Rain capes made of various materials have a long history in China, and the earliest known examples were made of straw. After the Ming dynasty, more elaborate examples were woven with grass the colour of jade, which was soft and waterproof. During the Qing dynasty, rain capes were woven using pipal tree leaves.

This useful rain cape was featured in our exhibit “Beauty Born of Use: Natural Rainwear from China and Japan” back in 2010-2011.

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