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This rendition of the mythical Phoenix is a very sophisticated design indicating that its owner was a member of the Imperial Palace...this reasoning is enhanced by the very expensive, atypical, and natural pastel coloring of this Obi. (the background color is lighter than is shown in the photos)
DESCRIPTION: This exquisite “Maru” Obi, the most formal of the Obi, has been hand woven of the finest pure Silk and Gold threads. It is an unusual example of the most elaborate of the Maru Obi to be hand woven for Japanese women before the turn of the century. It has but one seam, meaning that the Obi was woven in one continuous panel before being folded over in such a way that the pattern was not lost in the fold. It is, however, the tremendous amount of pure gold thread woven into the design that makes it absolutely unique. The gold is not only part of the intricacy of the pattern; it also creates an overall sheen to this Obi that is unparalleled. Only a member of the nobility, someone with great wealth, could have commissioned the weaving of such a rich Obi.
The main motif dominating this glorious Obi is that of the mythical Phoenix ("Ho o"). Luckily, the chosen image of the Phoenix that traveled from China to Japan during the Tang Dynasty was not that of classical mythology; instead, it was transformed into an element of beauty, an auspicious symbol of royalty also associated with the birth of an Emperor. The five colored tail feathers were said to represent the Five Virtues which were defined as the ideal behaviors of rulers and gentlemen. In Japanese society the Phoenix was coupled with Buddhist and Taoist images as well as Imperial authority.
The coloring of this fabulous Obi is as uncommon as the inclusion of the pure gold threads. The pastels were only included in the Obi of the most wealthy, while purple was the color of the Imperial Family. Purple (“Murasaki”) became the color of the Imperial Family, largely because of its great scarcity in ancient Japan. The overall effect of this Obi is one of remarkable design set forth in rare colors indicating great prosperity, youth and beauty, while the gold stripes at the bottom of the Obi denote that a woman of high rank and status in Japanese society wore this Obi.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Japan
TYPE TEXTILE: Formal hand woven Silk Maru Obi
APPROXIMATE DATE OR PERIOD: Meiji Era (1868 - 1912)
FABRIC CONTENT and CONDITION: Pure Silk and gold threads in excellent condition
FINISHED SIZE: 12 ¾ inches wide x 13 ¼ feet long
PRESENTATION: Creates an unusual and glorious wall hanging, either vertically or horizontally, or extraordinary table or chest runner.
A Certificate of Authenticity is included.
TTAC will personally pack and ship via UPS at company expense within the continental U.S.