A kesa is a kind of
patchwork following precise rules and a clear pattern. The main body is
made of patches of different sizes sewn vertically and horizontally. The
size of a kesa varies according to the person wearing it. Of course, a kesa
can be made of many more stripes, nine, eleven, thirteen...twenty-five
and more but we will only study the seven stripes kesa for a start.
What is the true colour of a kesa? It is said that Shakyamuni's kesa had
the same colour as his skin. The word kesa comes from the sanskrit
kasaya whixh means colour ochre. Bodhidharma and Dogen's kesa were
dark blue almost black. Generally speaking, most texts ( Ritsu ) agree on
the fact that the colour should not be a pure and bright colour, it should
be neither white nor a clear primary colour, rather a mixed and mudddy
darkish colour: blue, grey, brown, purple, black, dark yellow, dark green...