Kappa (Cape) with Traveling Hats (kasa), Peonies and Butterflies

Traveling capes, or kappa, were fashioned after capes worn by European merchants who arrived in Japan in the 16th century. This kappa is covered by butterflies, peonies and traveling hats. Butterflies can be symbols of immortality because they emerge transformed from coffin-like cocoons. Peonies are considered the rulers of the flowers and represent wealth and nobility of spirit. Kasa, curved, wide-brimmed hats worn by travelers for protection from sun and rain, are certainly appropriate for designs on a kappa. Since kasa is a homonym for “increase” they also imply an increased abundance of the good fortune symbolized by the butterflies and peonies.

Copyright 2006 Jeffrey Krauss and Ann Marie Moeller