Meibutsu-gire – the famous named fabrics

We have most often seen the meibutsu-gire, or famous named fabrics as kobukusa, the small patterned cloth, mounting for scrolls, and as shifuku or bags made to contain utensils.  During the haiken or appreciation dialog, the guests ask about the shifuku fabric.

While there is a close relationship between Tea and meibutsu-gire, not all fabrics used in Tea are meibutsu-gire. They are generally fabrics that were made in China during the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties or fabrics made in South Asia during the 16th and 17th centuries. They became famous either by their association with meibutsu tea utensils or because they were favored by famous chajin.

The meibutsu-gire fabrics originated mostly from China as far back as the Southern Song dynasty (11-27-1279), but some also come from Persia, Southeast Asia, and some from Japan.  The meibutsu-gire are characterized by the weaving technique, and the pattern.  Sometimes the name comes from a person or family that owned or favored that particular fabric.

There are many categories of meibutsu-gire, and we have already seen examples of Nishiki weaving.
There are about 400 fabrics that are considered as meibutsu-gire. However, the main ones we see today are Kinran, Donsu and Kanto.  There are probably more than I can name, so if you are into these kind of fabrics, let me hear from you in the comments.

Actually, few Nishiki fabrics are classified as meibutsu-gire. Here are photos of  a few more meibutsu-gire Nishiki fabrics, so you can learn to recognize them:

Kiji Arareji Hanamon Nishiki

Kiji Arareji Hanamon Nishiki close up



Meibutsu Shokko Nishiki


Kariyasu Botan Nishiki

Nashiji Kikukarakusa Nishiki


Ichigo Nishiki

 I admit, at first I did not see the strawberry in this pattern, but if you cut a strawberry in half across, when you look at the inside of the top and bottom half, you may see this type of pattern.
*Fabric photos courtesy of  Kitamura Tokusai Fukusaten Co., Ltd., Kyoto, Japan.via the now closed website Tea Hyakka..

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    • admin on June 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    please stay tuned for other posts.

  1. This info is priceless. When can I find out more?

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