'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. Cherry blossom pattern was popularly used in the costumes of Oiran Geisya and wearing second hand Cherry blossom kimonos was popular among common people during the Edo period (1603–1868). Many Ukiyo-e Cherry blossom Kimono prints were produced by the artists, which in turn promoted the pattern for Oiran geisha costumes.
Katagami artisans created a variation in this Sakura pattern. Sakura was popular and common, but this pattern features some creative design giving it a modern feel. It features additions of bamboo groves and sparrows in amongst the blossom petals. The combination of bamboo and sparrow is often seen in kimono of the Edo period (1603-1867).
Bamboo maintains evergreen colour, expressing a rugged life force resisting wind and snow for straight growth. The sparrow is regarded as a symbol of personal prosperity, clan prosperity, rich fruit crops and it is said to be auspicious. The ‘Fukura Suzume’ (round and puffy Sparrow) pattern which was strikingly incorporated in this pattern was particularly popular in the late Edo era (1780~1867). The meaning of ‘Fukura’ is to expand, so combining this with the auspicious Sparrow leads to the meaning "Good things will expand".This is why there are many sparrows in bamboo in family crests.
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.