The celadon colored silk fabric used for this kobukusa is adorned with a very rare type of pattern considered to have its roots in Chinese Taoist astrology. The pattern represents the moon, the sun, and constellations amid the clouds. The moon is symbolized by the rabbit and the sun is symbolized by the rooster. These animals are opposites in the Chinese zodiac and together they represent the interconnected and interdependent concept of yin and yang. Kobukusa are used as a small mat during tea practice but could be used similarly as a mat underneath a special vase or item.
Kitamura Tokusai has been making silk cloths, or fukusa, for practitioners of tea since 1712. Their elegant textiles are among the finest woven silk fabrics available in Japan and are made by highly skilled weavers in Kyoto’s historic Nishijin area. Kitamura Tokusai’s inventory of fabrics features over 400 patterns of historical significance, many of which were expressly favored by the founders and most prominent devotees of Japan’s tea culture. The Kitamura family continues to warmly welcome tea and textile enthusiasts to their Nishijin shop by hanging a fukusa, a symbol of hospitality, in the entrance.