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DESCRIPTION: Elegant silk gossamers, known as “Karami Ori,” have been used for Imperial Coronation ceremonies from earliest times in Japan. Those of this group known as “Sha” Silks could only be worn in the month of August, when the destination of the wearer was the Imperial Palace. This wonderful piece is a most intricate example of the finest of the gauze weaves -- so sheer in its final form that its use was limited almost to the Imperial Court alone.
This elaborately hand woven Art Work is also an example of the difficult art of “finger weaving,” which makes the piece appear to be embroidered; when, in reality, the design is part of the weaving from the very beginning. This is a technique that is far more difficult and involved than embroidering an Obi after it has been woven. This weave is also referred to as "Tsuzure-Ori" or Tapestry weave. The weaver's fingernails are basic tools, used along with a wooden comb, with which he beats down the weft of the tapestry. Each nail has a shelf cut in it, which makes it resemble a step ladder...each step holding a different color of silk thread. This was what enabled the weaver to create free-form designs; and, also, made it possible for the weaver to add the Pure Gold threads. In this way, rare and sumptuous designs, resembling hand embroidery, were created for the upper classes.
Excepting the gold thread accents, natural indigo dyes were used to create this exquisite grapevine design which is a spectacular example of an “oboro-zome,” a skillful use of dye that results in a full range of shaded dyeing from white to grayish or indigo blue. The use of the grape (“Budo”) and grapevine as a design element is a very sophisticated Japanese rendition of an old Chinese design -- one that only a sophisticate of higher learning and status would be likely to wear. It is an exquisite “Maru” Obi, the most formal of the Obi, that has been hand woven of the finest pure Silk and Gold threads. It is an unusual example of the most elaborate of the Maru Obi to be handwoven for Japanese women before the turn of the century. It has but one seam, meaning that the Obi was woven in one continuous panel before being folded over in such a way that the pattern was not lost in the fold. It is, however, the finger weaving and the sophisticated use of pure gold thread woven into the background of the design that makes it absolutely unique. Only a Master Weaver could have created a textile such as this that goes from the sheerest of weaves right into the densely woven grape design.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Japan
TYPE TEXTILE: Formal Woman's Maru Obi Textile Fragment
APPROXIMATE DATE OR PERIOD: Early Meiji Era (1868-1912), ca early 1870s
FABRIC CONTENT and CONDITION: “Sha” Silk is one of the finest of the hand woven gauze silks, worn only by families of very high status. The sheer quality of the textile, along with its hand dyed nature are most evident in the background of this obi fragment. There are incredible pure gold and silk threads included...all of which are in excellent condition.
FINISHED SIZE: 17 1/2" w x 22 3/4" h
PRESENTATION: This stunning example of Japan’s enduring Master Artwork is surrounded by a light silver glazed gold fillet set in an acid free mat of the dark blue indigo of the weaving. It has been placed in a wood frame with a heavy silver glaze laid over gold in a manner similar to the fillet. The frame itself has pure straight lines with an inner round molding outlined in black to set off the artwork. Museum glass shields the art. This elegant, antique, hand worked textile has been mounted in conformance with the highest standards in order to ensure a damage-free environment for its future protection.
A Certificate of Authenticity is included.
Professional packing and shipping is included within the continental United States