This is an extraordinary example of the Fukuro Obi originally intended for both formal and semi formal wear. It has two seams running down each edge of the Obi. It is a lovely, finely hand woven, pale yellow Silk Fukuro Obi that has been transformed into a Nagoya Obi, wherein one third of the Obi has been folded in half to make the tying of the Obi easier for the wearer. It is this portion that has been used to create the traditional tie in the front of this “hanging Obi.”
The Silk has a glorious sheen that shows to best advantage the marvelous hand painted design of “little happy people” or “Karako” playing among the flowers and trees that line the lake. The use of the pale pastel colors is most unusual and adds to the overall feeling of serenity. The design demonstrates a heavy Chinese influence and in ancient times, the Japanese were said to have envisioned the Chinese people in much this way: small, asexual and happy. They generally wore pajama like clothing and had bare heads except for two small tufts of hair. The often appear as adjuncts to two of the Seven Gods of Good Luck.
This marvelous example of the “Rice Paste Resist” or “Tsutsugaki” Process of hand painting is highly unusual for its finely detailed and intricate design. This technique required that each individual color be applied separately, while all the remaining colors must first be painted out in the rice paste. Once each individual color has been set, the Silk is then rinsed out in the local river water over and over again until it is ready for the application of the next color. This is an extraordinarily difficult, and time consuming, labor intensive artistic process that often took months to accomplish. The overall feel of the motif has been enhanced by skillful embroidery, which highlights the children at play. One end of this long Obi has been tied in a bow of typical Obi design. It is held in place with a matching Silk, hand braided, “Obi-jime,” or cord that echoes the color and beauty of the Obi. The Obi-jime is as old as the Obi itself.
A marvelous Japanese Artisan (herself of Samurai lineage) created this artistic representation in order to display year – round the beauty of this wonderful textile, as easily as one would hang a painting. Silk thread has been used on the back to support the tying of this Obi.