'Sakura' (Cherry Blossom) pattern has been favoured by Japanese since the Heian period (794-1185). It symbolises new beginnings, renewal (early Spring), beauty and the transience of life. It is said that Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties were held and the cherry blossom pattern is painted in the hopes of a good harvest. It is a spring flower, however one can wear this pattern regardless of the season.
Chou (Butterfly) is one of the most popular patterns in Japanese culture, often seen on Japanese Kimonos and textiles. For the Japanese people, the butterfly has many spiritual, symbolic and artistic meanings. When the era of Ukiyo-e woodblock cuts came along during the middle to the late of Edo period (1692-1868), the butterfly quickly became a popular subject for the Ukiyo-e artists.
Many Ukiyo-e Cherry Blossom and Butterfly design Kimono prints were produced by artists, which in turn promoted the pattern for Oiran geisha costumes.
This is one of around 400 Japanese katagami stencils which are part of the Silver Studio Collection. The stencils were produced in Japan as a way of applying patterns to fabric, mainly kimonos. The katagami collected by the Silver Studio were used by their designers as reference material to produce their own Japanese-inspired patterns.