In old Japan, gift-giving was a ritual. A tradition of giving gifts covered with a finely embroidered square silk cloth became widespread during the Edo Period (1615-1867). This cloth is called fukusa. Formal gifts were often presented in a box with the fukusa draped over to conceal it. After being appropriately admired, the fukusa and box were returned to the giver whilst the gift was accepted. The choice of fukusa was important to reflect the formality of the occasion and the status of the gift-giver. Some fukusa have tassels so that they can be handled without touching the fabric.
If you've been to the shop lately, you would have seen a pair of fukusa adorning our walls! These days, they are rarely used (except maybe during weddings) but they can be beautiful additions to your home decor! The ones we have depict cranes and pine trees--auspicious symbols of longevity and good fortune.
Please drop by the shop and have a look!
(Note: The fukusa we describe above is different from the fukusa used in the tea ceremony.)
(Photos by the ikebana shop. All rights reserved.)