~TRADITIONAL PATTERN ~ relish the history of patterns

Shoso-in patterns

Shoso-in is a treasure house of Todai-ji temple built in 8th cencury, and

is on the UNESCO register of World Heritage Sites as one of the Historic

Monuments of Ancient Nara.

A lot of selected beautiful artifacts reached Yamato(Today's Nara) through the Silk Road and many of distinguisehed designs, which are called Shoso-in patterns or Tenpyo patterns, were seen in those treasures. These elegant and sophsticated desings are still popular and featured in many fields.




It is one of the Shoso-in patterns. Hosoge is an imaginary flower, which

combines the beautiful elements from palmette, pomegranate, lotus flower

and tree peony. The pattern came to Japan through ancient Orinet, India and China.


②Dokko (Tool of Biddhism)

It is one of the arm-in patterns originated in ancient India and a tool in order to burn away bonno (earthly desires) in esoteric Buddhism.

Serial patterns of Dokko configure a woven pattern to express good luck charm and success in the family.

③Ho-oh(Chinese Phoenix)

It is one of the Shoso-in patterns.Chinese Phoenix is known as the king of birds.The masculine of which is called 'HO', and the feminine is 'OH.

It has been said that they would appear when a Ruler of Virtue reigns peaceful and tranquil world.



It is one of the Shoso-in patterns. It shows a knight armed with bow and arrow on horseback is hungint lions, deer or sheep.The origin of this pattern is West Asia,and especually the design of lion -hunting, which represents the symbol of royal power,can be seen in many countries.Well-known brocades stored in Shoso-in or Horyu-ji temple are not the exceptions.


It is one of the auspicious omen pattern of calm ocean hoping peaceful. It is said that the pattern was used in the costume for Gagaku (ancient Japanese court dance and music) so called the oldest music in Asia and is originated from one of the Gagaku dance music named “ Seigaiha” .


⑥Hanakui-bird(Floer bite bird)

It is one of the Shoso-in Ptterns.Hanakui-bird is a design originated in ancient Orient Which represents a bird holding a ribbon or a pearl necklace with its beak.The design was modified,when it went Central Asia, to a bird biting a flower. The design became to a crane biting a young pine spray by Heian period (9~12th century) It is featured as an auspicious omens motif, and popular to the people who are hoping perpetual youth and longevity.

⑦Karakusa (arabesuque)

It is one of the Shoso-in patterns and oldest pattern originated ancient Egypt and transferred to Japan in Nara era through China. These are patterns of carved ivy glass, flowers and fruits. It is also the auspicious omen pattern lasting forever from its form and figure.

⑧Jyuka-Soujyu(pair of animals under the tree)

It is one of the Shōsō-in patterns. Jyuka-Soujyu is a pattern arranging a pair of animals such as lions or sheep symmetrically under a tree. From ancient time in Western Asia, trees have been thought to be the symbol of vitality, and the animals are arranged as guardians of the tree. This type of dignified patterns can be seen in many of Persian silk fabrics in 6th century.


⑨Kikko (tortoiseshell)

It is one of the geometric pattern originated in western asia, and can be seen in many other asia countries.

 It is still popular at present as the auspicious omen pattern for the longevity of the tortoise

⑩Kumotatewaku (Clouds going up the sky)

In ancient China, fortune was told by a form and the color of the cloud regarding a cloud as a God who travels to the heaven.

In the West, it was painted with enthusiasm as the symbol indicating the mystery of the heavens where God lived in. Japanese original pattern “ Kumotatiwaku” is loved as the auspicious omen pattern for an image that rising clean air of mountains and rivers becomes the steam and well up towards the sky.