The original of this brocade is preserved at Horyuji Temple (founded 607), the world’s oldest wooden structure, in Nara Prefecture. Depicting four kings on winged horses hunting lions, the motif is believed to be of Sasanian origin, which was woven for a Chinese emperor by Sogdian textile artists.
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.