Meiji Era (1868 - 1911), ca 1880
Hand Woven Silk
FINISHED SIZE: 9" w x 42" h, lacquer rod 16 1/2" w x 43" h
Brilliant young girl's silk Obi, hand woven, hand painted and far more colorful than the Obi of adult's.
DESCRIPTION: This is an extraordinarily rare, hand woven and hand painted young girl's Silk Obi. It obviously belonged to a young girl of high social standing, as the intricate weaving of the natural Silk threads and the hand painting are exquisite in their detailing. This stunning hand woven Silk Obi has been intricately painted in the rare Yuzen method which incorporates both Rice Paste Resist or "Tsutsugaki" and hand dying techniques. The Yuzen Rice Paste Resist technique was perfected around 1700 by the famous painter and fabric designer for whom it was named. It is a process which incorporates both the "Tsutsugaki" and hand stenciling techniques which result in a distinguishing, thin white outline around each element in the design. This is an extraordinarily difficult, time consuming, and labor-intensive artistic process that often took months to accomplish.
The brilliant motif includes many auspicious symbols: the pair of flying Crane ("Tsuru") which represent good fortune and, oftentimes, longevity as legend has it that it takes the Crane 1000 years to fly to the sun; the stylized flower bouquets including Chrysanthemums ("Kiku") which have long been associated with the Imperial Family; and the stunning Peonies ("Botan") which also carry royal significance having been imported from China where they are the flower of the Emperor.
Color is not just a matter of personal preference or taste in Japan, but subject to seemingly timeless rules reflecting shared cultural values. Because of the strong red background color, the design is much more prominent. In the Orient, red has often been associated with the ritual (many bridal costumes are red) of the warding off of evil. Thus, the bright red of this young female child's Obi is intended to draw attention to her and to the fact that she is unmarried, as well as protect her, and those around her, from evil spirits. It is also considered a color of excitement and passion and has become such an important part of everyday Japanese life that it is the color of their personal signature or seal.
The tied bow is a typical obi design and the hand braided Silk Tie dates from the same era. This brightly colored and patterned Child's Obi has been hand tied by a marvelous Japanese Artisan (herself of Samurai lineage) who 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 and the Bow has been restrained in place with a matching Silk, hand tied, “Obi-jime,” or cord that echoes the color and beauty of the Obi. The Obi-jime is as old as the Obi itself.
TYPE TEXTILE: Child's Obi, hand tied with typical bow, intended to be hung on the wall. This is an extraordinary example of the ingenious Fukuro Obi to be handwoven for a young Japanese child. A Fukuro Obi is used for both formal and semi formal occasions. It has two seams; but, in this example, both sides retain the same overall Silk pattern.
FABRIC CONTENT and CONDITION: Hand woven of the finest Silk threads with a hand painted Yuzen pattern in excellent condition.
PRESENTATION: This is a wonderful way to display an antique Obi year around as an unusual and dramatic wall hanging.