In the centuries before Japan opened to the West, high ranking samurai (daimyo) built fort-like castles in towns that became centers of commerce. These castles were sources of both pride and fascination to local commoners.

These two textiles, woven decades after castles lost their purpose, capture both the beauty and strength of these structures.

Symbols of longevity and good fortune are commonly added to kasuri castle images. This example includes flying cranes, foundation stones in the shape of hexagonal tortoise shells, and stylized three-lobed pine branches.


This castle, like the one adjacent, is accompanied by the auspicious symbols of stylized three-lobed pine branches, flying cranes, and foundation stones in the shape of hexagonal tortoise shells. The martial nature of the castle is emphasized by the oversized war drum. The three comma-shaped swirls (mitsu tomoe) on the drum head are associated with thunder and the war god Hachiman.

Copyright 2006 Jeffrey Krauss and Ann Marie Moeller