This meibutsugire, or patterned textile of special significance, depicts two powerful mythical animals, the dragon and the kirin. Featuring three colored nishiki, the original of this textile has a written note stating that it was woven at the textile agency of the Ming Imperial Office. The dragon inside the flower is a symbol of power and strength, often used by the emperor of China. The kirin inside the circle is the mythical sacred king of animals that symbolizes prosperity and fertility.
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.