This silk kobukusa features blush-colored plum blossoms on a yellow background. This pattern was derived from one of the tea utensils owned by Sen-no-Rikyu (1522-1591), the tea master that perfected the austere tea practice known as wabi-cha that continues to this day. Rikyu had a favorite lacquer incense container adorned with these plum blossom designs as recorded in “Senke chuko meibutsu ki” published in the mid-Edo (18th century) period. 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.