December 21, 2010

Black and Brown

I tried on my newer obi I featured already, the black bamboo nagoya obi. It had finally arrived and it is even more gorgeous than the pictures showed. The other is one I haven't shown yet, a new brown fukuro obi. I also discovered something interesting on both obi that was not shown in the eBay photos: each obi has a hanko or "seal".

I have seen pictures of these on obi that are created by different designers. I assume that is the case here for these obi. Here is the hanko on the edge of the black bamboo obi. It will be just visible when worn  in the traditional o-taiko musubi. Here is one more image of the obi's fantastic design. The patterns in the striped areas are very detailed and colorful. The fabric is fairly stiff and very smooth, matte black silk, so I'm not sure what type of silk it's woven from. I tried it on yesterday and discovered that the tesaki (short, narrow end) is longer than most of the other nagoya obi that I own, so it's challenging to tie so that you don't end up with too much fabric to tuck inside the drum section of the musubi. I'll keep playing around with it and get it perfect very soon! Or I will attempt a tsunodashi musubi, yet another way to tie a nagoya obi!

Next obi: a brown "fukuro" obi. At least that's how it was advertised. What arrived was what looks like a contemporary chuya obi (is there such a thing?) in virtually perfect condition!

The design is really interesting but I'm not sure what the flowers are; the leaves look like thistle, but it could be something like Queen Anne's Lace but I'm not sure if that's a traditional Japanese flower motif. I will probably post a picture of this motif on the Immortal Geisha forums to see if anyone can identify it.

The reverse side of the obi is solid black glossy (slippery!) silk with the hanko on on end along with kanji of some sort. So I can wear it with the black side out if I want. I tried this obi on last night and it seems short for a fukuro/chuya obi; I wasn't able to make a double drum bow, only a single.

Otherwise, it's a lovely design and has a casual and understated feel to it. The fabric is also fairly soft, much softer than the black bamboo obi. As far as what season to wear this obi, I'm not quite sure because of the flower, but the warm brown, purple, navy, cream, and reddish orange remind me of autumn.

This obi goes really well with my navy tsumugi iromuji and a cream rinzu obiage and either a cream or a blue-violet obijime. I don't think it goes with any other kimono, but that's ok! I have too many right now anyway!

The obi with gold hanko


  1. That black bamboo obi is so so stunning. I can't wait to see photos of you wearing it!

  2. Hi, I stumbled across your blog during an internet search.

    I definitely say that is a chuyu obi (one of my favourite types of obi) :)

    Great blog!