This silk damask kobukusa features an arabesque pattern in copper on a sage green background. The arabesque contains the three traditional sho-chiku-bai elements of pine, bamboo, and plum blossoms, known in English as the “three friends of winter.” The sho-chiku-bai grouping came to Japan from China and is a beloved motif in Japanese decorative arts symbolizing resilience and perseverance. 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.