Around the fifteenth century, a group of textiles called tsujigahana (literally “flowers at crossing”) became fashionable. Little is known about the makers of tsujigahana textiles, but their use of shibori processes to produce pictorial designs is remarkable. The designs were delineated with fine stitching and then capped to reserve the patterns, as the cloth was dyed in various colors. This is a major change in making patterned cloths, which previously had been embellished only by weaving or embroidery due to the limitation of liquid dyes, which tend to bleed. Tsujigahana were worn primarily by women, young men, and children; however, a sixteenth-century portrait of a famous warlord is depicted in a wraparound garment that opens in front to reveal an underlayer decorated with a tsujigahana pattern. The earliest existing examples of tsujigahana are a group of banners that were placed around Buddhist temples during special ceremonies.
Many observers believe Tsujigahana textiles are the zenith of the Japanese textile arts. These textiles which were produced between the fourteenth and the early seventeenth century for clothes, banners and other items are examples of the height of creativity and beauty. In one sense Tsujigahana textile can be seen as a reflection of Japanese historical changes. Many of the best pieces of tsujigahana reflect the decorative extravagance of the later Edo period. This comminglinging of very different artistic sensibilities produced many miracles of artistic and technical brilliance that have not yet been equaled.