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Bamboo, pine and plum frequently appear in Japanese designs. Together they are known as the three friends of the bitter cold and they represent good fortune. This quilt takes the form of a kesa, the traditional Buddhist monk's robe. Even when made of the most luxurious fabrics imaginable a kesa is always pieced because the Buddha wore garments made of filthy rags. Over the years it evolved into the stylized rice paddy pattern, consisting of an uneven number of columns from five to as many as twenty-three, depending on the rank of the wearer. The central, wider column represents the Buddha, flanked by two decorative squares representing his attendants. The four corner squares represent the four corners of the earth.