This meibutsugire, or patterned textile of special significance, depicts a flower called housouge, a mythical flower that combines elements of lotus, peony, and pomegranate. Originating in India, it is often used in Buddhist designs. It was very popular during Japan’s Nara Period (710-794), found at Shosoin Temple in the form of kururi, the textile border that surrounds script in a scroll. This kobukusa features the flowers in burgundy on a royal purple background.
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.