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Two entirely different patterns exist on this finely hand woven Summer Silk Obi, dominated by the very rare depiction of the female spirit, Hannya.
This dramatic and unusual, handwoven, Silk "Fukuro" Obi, or Japanese sash, has one side patterned with the figure of Hannya, while the reverse has the distinctive swirling cloud and family crest. A Fukuro Obi is worn for formal and semi-formal occasions. It is an elegant Silk Gossamer known as “Karami Ori,” a member of the gauze family. This Obi represents the most intricate of these weaves, the “Ro,” which is distinguished by strips of densely woven material separated by an open weave. The secret behind this fine open weave fabric creates a strong, beautiful, and cool “Summer Silk.” This magnificent Obi could only have been worn for 3 months of the summer season: June, July and August. The overall shade of blue along with the swirling of the clouds contributes to a light, airy, summer feeling which this obi intended to impart.
The unusual characteristic of this type of Obi is that it has an overall motif on one side, while the reverse side is more plain in terms of decoration, although exquisite in terms of the silk weaving. The more decorative side (see photo left) has been elaborately hand stenciled with the Mask of “Hannya,” the revengeful Female Spirit (demon) with horns, open mouth and sharp fangs often used in the Noh Theatre. As a figure of the jealous female Hannya becomes the archetype found in classic Japanese literature. The Hannya is the most fearsome of the Japanese mythic demons reminiscent of the western saying "Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned!"
The reverse side has been stenciled with the Family Crest or “Mon” of the “Tomoe” (Comma Shape). In Japan, the Tomoe Pattern became fashionable around the 10th or 11th century. It eventually became the representative symbol of Hachiman, the god of war, assuming both religious and martial qualities. Only a woman of great wealth and high social rank could have afforded an obi of this quality, meant to be worn for such a short period of time.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Japan
TYPE TEXTILE: The Fukuro Obi differs from the Maru Obi, the most formal of the Obi, by the fact that seams appear on each side of the Obi, rather than on one side only. This allows the weaver more creativity in terms of the decoration on each side of the Obi. It also allows the Obi to reverse to entirely different designs as the wearer desires.
APPROXIMATE DATE OR PERIOD: Meiji Era (1868 - 1912), before the turn of the century
FABRIC CONTENT and CONDITION: Finely hand woven, sheer, gauze-like Silk that has been hand stenciled using natural dyes and the Rice Paste Resist method. This technique required that each color be applied separately, while all the others were painted out in the rice paste. Each time a new color was added, the rice paste had to be removed by soaking it out over and over and over again in the local river water; a time consuming and laborious process. This extraordinary Obi is of the highest quality and in excellent condition.
FINISHED SIZE: 12 inches wide x 60 3/4 inches 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.