A meibutsugire, or pattern of special significance, this pattern is said to have come from China or Persia in the early 17th century. At some point, a chajin (a person pursuing the way of tea) selected this floral pattern and named it “覆盆子ichigo” using the Chinese characters for raspberry, due to the flowers’ resemblance to the fruit. This kobukusa is exceptionally thick. Kobukusa are used as a small mat during tea practice but could be used similarly as a mat underneath a special vase or item.
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.