The rabbits and flowers of this meibutsugire (pattern of special significance) represent a type of tsukuritsuchi, or group of patterns created during the Song Dynasty (13th century) that include fauna and flora on a ground. This pattern depicts an adorable golden brocade rabbit standing on its hind legs looking back at a flower, on a teal ground. This pattern is known to have been the favorite of the powerful Kyoto sea merchant, Suminokura Ryoi, (1554-1614) who traded with Anam (Vietnam) and Luzon (Philippines) during his time.
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.