February 17, 2011

Maru mystery obi

I received some new obi today from Kimono Lily (Sadly, they are closing their doors, so everything was 50% off!) that I ordered last week. They arrived today, all are wonderful, especially the crimson red hakata obi! I LOVE hakata obi and am working on a collection. But that's another post. 
you can see the finished edge on the right side.

There was one that I ordered, billed as a maru obi (not the cat on Youtube.com of course!) that I had been eying for months and was really pretty, but not exactly what I expected when it arrived!

It's only 10" wide, but it is 12' long, like a proper maru obi
And not that heavy.
It's probably a silk-blend.

A normal maru obi is 12" wide, about 4 meters long and very heavy, double-sided silk. It is the highest ranking obi in formality and are not worn that much any more except by brides or at very formal occasions. Or course that doesn't mean they are not available; just that the ones you see for sale in places like Ichiroya and Yamatoku are usually vintage.

As you can see, it's is rather awesome-looking, very much all red and gold, a bit less bright than the photo shows. There are some cobalt blue flowers every 2-1/2 feet of so, so there is not that much blue in the pattern. It is basically two or three season obi, depending on who you talk to. There is a key fret pattern overlayed with bunches of chrysanthemum, bush clover, peony, and paulownia leaves. There may even be a tiny bit of wisteria on it. It has a certain drama about it somehow since it's a bit brazen in it's color and design, especially compared to the other obi in my collection.
One end is not finished exactly the same way as the other; a maru obi is the same on each end, so who knows what happened. Maybe it has been altered somehow. The textile is soft, somewhat shiny like satin, and not difficult to tie at all.
Because it's only 10" wide, I can't tie this into a standard taiko musubi (box-shaped bow). But I can make a nice simple bunko musubi and wear it with a komon kimono. I really like it so I will certainly keep it. It will probably look great with the red and white yabane kimono and the navy blue tsumugi.
I'll show the rest of the obi that I received today in another post!

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