No photo can do justice to this Obi. The silver threads are incredible and the way the light captures the overall sheen and highlights the intricate Chrysanthemums must be seen to be appreciated.
This is a striking example of the most formal and sophisticated of the Japanese Silk Obi to be hand-woven for Japanese women in the 1800s. A “Maru” Obi has but one seam, meaning that the Obi was woven in one continuous panel before being folded over in such a manner that the pattern was not lost in the fold. It is a very lustrous, fine Silk Obi that took incredible time and patience to weave.
The overall small repeal pattern is referred to in Japan as “Meiji jimon,” is comprised of a profusion of silver Chrysanthemums among the Paulownia leaves. The Chrysanthemum (“Kiku”) bears a resemblance to the Sun’s (“Hi”) rays which lead in 1336 to its being declared the official emblem of the Imperial Court. In 1869, it was given in law to the Imperial House as their Crest (“Mon”). The Paulownia ranks only second to the Chrysanthemum, and it, too, was exclusively associated with the Imperial Family, until the Emperor granted its use as a Family Crest to Toyotomi Hideyoshi who unified Japan in the early 1600s.
The dyes used to brilliantly weave this Obi were from all natural sources, while the colors, though elegant, appear more somber. Color is not merely a matter of personal preference or taste, but is subject to seemingly timeless rules reflecting shared cultural values. Thus, this Obi would have been worn by a woman of great wealth and status who was older and married. Also, the overall design of the Obi indicates that the artist created it to be worn in the winter season. The intricacy of the design, giving a brightness to the pattern not usually associated with traditional colors, attests to the artistry of the weaver, while the unusual stripes at the bottom of the pattern denote that a woman of high rank and affluence in Japanese society wore this stunning Obi.
A Certificate of Authenticity is included.
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