As Buddhism spread through Asia, the robes worn by monks adapted to local climate and culture. Today, the saffron robes of southeast Asian monks are thought to be nearly identical to the original robes of 25 centuries ago. However, what monks wear in China, Tibet, Japan, Korea and elsewhere can look quite a bit different.
This photo gallery doesn't come close to showing all the variations in styles of monks' robes. Monks' robes of the many schools and lineages, and even individual temples, can be quite distinctive from each other. There are countless variations of sleeve styles alone, and you could probably find a monks' robe to match every color in the crayon box.
Instead, this gallery is a sampler of Buddhist robe images that represent and explain common features. The images also illustrate how most robes retain some characteristics of the original robes, if you know where to look.
- Graphic Index
- Text Index