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DESCRIPTION: A Fukuro Obi is generally patterned on one side and is usually worn for formal or informal occasions. The unusual characteristic of this type of Obi is that it has an overall motif on one side, while the reverse side is more plain in terms of decoration, although equally exquisite in terms of the silk weaving. The more decorative side of this Obi is an intricately and brightly patterned tapestry in an increasingly popular and influential European style.
This brilliant Obi would have been worn in the early Spring (highlighted by the stylized Plum) or the Fall, demonstrated by the colors chosen and the floral motifs. What makes the coloration so different is the tremendous amount of pure gold threads woven into the design as well as the use of brighter colors atypical of pre-1900 Japan. The silk used creates an overall sheen to this Obi that is unparalleled. Add to this the depth and brilliance of the remaining colors, with the inclusion of the rare lapis and purples, and this Obi becomes a stunning example of the very best Obi to have been produced in old Japan.
The design is absolutely magnificent, utilizing traditional design motifs in a very modern approach. Incorporated into the brighter sections are stylized flowers resembling the Plum (Ume), the pointed Maple Leaf (Kaede), an arabesque or Karakusa pattern within the ivory background, Karakusa refers to a Chinese plant. It does not refer to any particular flower but instead implies that this particular flower has a foreign flavor. This certainly enhances the overall modern (turn of the century when Japan was becoming more and more inundated with European imports) appeal of this Obi. Also included are the impressions of the fan ((Ogi) appearing to resemble a peacocks (kujaku) tail and numerous geometric motifs among the background. Each of these elements represents something significant in the life of the woman who chose this Obi. For example, the Open Fan (Sensu) represents an open future, The overall effect of this Obi is one of great wealth and beauty, while the geometrically stylized gold stripes at the bottom of the pattern denote that a woman of high rank and status in Japanese society wore this Obi.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Japan
TYPE TEXTILE: The Fukuro Obi differs from the Maru Obi, the most formal of the Obi, by the fact that seams appear on each side of the Obi, rather than on one side only. This allows the weaver more creativity in terms of the decoration on each side of the Obi. It also allows the Obi to reverse to an entirely different look as the wearer desires.
APPROXIMATE DATE OR PERIOD: Late Meiji, turn of the century, to early Taisho Era, 1912-1927.
FABRIC CONTENT and CONDITION: Intricately woven tapestry silk with a tremendous amount of pure gold threads on the one side reversing to an ivory silk.
FINISHED SIZE: 12 inches wide by 13 feet long
PRESENTATION: Creates an unusual and dramatic wall hanging, either vertically or horizontally, or extraordinary table or chest runner. One could emphasize either the plain ivory side or reverse to the brighter tapestry side of this beautiful Obi.
A Certificate of Authenticity is included.
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