This pattern of special significance, known as Meibutsugire, is a damask known as Araiso that depicts a carp-like fish in rough waters. The original of this pattern arrived in Japan from Ming China sometime during the 16th-17th centuries. It is well-known as the pattern of the silk pouch of the Chuko-Meibutsu tea container Otsu, which was owned by the tea master Matsudaira Fumai from the Matsue domain.
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.