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Photos do not do justice to the overall sheen of this fabulous, yet traditional silk Obi.
DESCRIPTION: This is an extraordinarily fine handwoven Silk Maru Obi that incorporates the best of ancient Japanese traditional motifs as well as using, also, the more time-honored colors of its past. The orange, green and gold ( as well as their variants) are soft and subtle. The shadings of pink and green all work together to instill a younger feel to these long-established motifs. The inclusion of the pale purple informs us that a noble woman wore this Obi, presumably on her way to the Imperial Court; as purple was the sign of the Emperor and his family. She was, in all probability, a relatively young married woman. The colors are not garish, a sign of an unmarried young woman desiring to draw attention to her station; nor are they somber, which indicated older, married women who were not to lure men's awareness to themselves and, typically, wore more somber colors and designs.
This elaborate Obi demonstrates long established designs: one's eye is immediately drawn to the powerful pair of gracefully flying Mandarin Crane ("Tsuru") who symbolize the fruition of a long marriage, as the Crane mates for life. It is also credited with bringing good fortune, as well as living to a great age, as it is said that it takes the Crane 1000 years to fly to the Sun. The Crane pass by the wonderfully, early blooming Plum ("Ume") Tree with its branches still leafless as it prepares itself for Spring. The Blossoms appear in the latter part of the winter and are much appreciated for their hardiness and beauty. The Crane and Plum branch appear within the confines of an Open Fan ( "Ogi"), indicating that the future has not yet been written for the wearer of this garment. The other most dominant aspect of the patterning are the large and lavish Chrysanthemum ("Kiku") Blossoms. They have been described as bearing nobility and purity and long been considered a symbol of Imperial Royalty. Appearing in and around the Chrysanthemum and the Crane are the swirling waters of a flowing steam inculcating the feelings of elegance and tranquility.
This rare, handwoven Silk “Maru Obi,” is an illustrious example of the most formal and most expensive of the Japanese Obi. A Maru Obi has but one seam, and has been woven in a continuous repeat pattern and folded over to create 2 visions of the same dramatic scene. This is a very lustrous, fine Silk Obi with a wonderful sheen that, when turned in different directions and seen in a different light, will appear to change color. This is a sign of a very high quality Obi. The colors are from natural dyes and are the more traditional colors of ancient Japan, while the high sheen of the Silk adds immeasurably to its value.
The overall effect of this Obi is one of pleasing design set forth in rare, yet traditional, pastel colors. The intricacy of the weaving attests to the artistry of a Master Weaver and the wealth and status of the wearer. The overall effect of this Obi is one of great wealth and beauty, while it is obvious that a woman of high rank and status in Japanese society wore this Obi.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Japan
TYPE TEXTILE: Very formal, Hand woven Silk Maru Obi
APPROXIMATE DATE OR PERIOD: Meiji Era (1868-1912), ca 1880s
FABRIC CONTENT and CONDITION: Finest of silks in excellent condition.
FINISHED SIZE: approximately 13 inches wide by 12 1/2 feet long...typical size for a very old Obi.
PRESENTATION: Creates an unusual and glorious wall hanging, either vertically or horizontally, or extraordinary table or chest runner.
A Certificate of Authenticity is included.
TTAC will personally pack and ship via UPS at company expense within the continental United States.