- A silk fukuro obi, with lots of gold woven over burgundy red in a beautiful design of flowers.
- This is a hikihaku obi, which is a technique, which uses finely cut and stretched gold or silver foil on Japanese paper or, in this case, very fine silk, which is then woven into the weft into fabric, giving it a beautiful metallic sheen.
- Made and bought in Japan
- A Fukuro obi. Fukuro obis are formal obis, worn to formal events or by brides. They are usually patterned on only one side, with plain fabric on the back, and some are patterned along their entire length but many are patterned only on the areas that show, so one side is plain, the other is about 60 percent patterned. They make great displays or panels down beds, on tables etc.
- This is a rokutsu style obi, which means only patterned along 60 percent of the length on the patterned side, because the plain 40 percent(on the sash section of its length) is hidden underneath when the obi is wound twice round the waist. Usually also patterned on one side. More obi information further down this page, below the photos
Excellent – an inconspicuous little mark
Obi are one-size-fits-all items
Golden Red Fukuro Obi
- There are numerous types of Japanese obi, from the casual hanhaba obi and heko obi to the formal maru and fukuro obis and several other types too. You can find lots of information about obis can be found in this site's Info section and some information below about the four main types.
- Shitsuke: The Japanese take great pains to store their traditional garments with the utmost care, which is why they stay in such exceptional condition. Some of my Japanese garments have large, white stitching (shitsuke) round the edges. The Japanese put these stitches in to keep the edges flat during long periods of storage, these stitches just get pulled out before wearing the garment
- Cleaning: Great care must be taken in cleaning obi. It is not adviseable to wash them. Many may be dry cleaned. Any cleaning is done at the buyer's risk, as is the case with all vintage items.
- Obi Information:
- The 4 main types of women’s obis are:
Nagoya obis usually have the sash section ready folded and they open out to full width at the tare (rear knot end section). Some Nagoya obis are hassun Nagoyas, that is, they have no stiffening core inside, making them a bit softer and easier to tie.
Fukuro obis are not pre folded and require the sash section of their length to be folded in half when putting them on. Fukuro are also thicker and heavier than nagoya obis.
Nagoya & Fukuro Most nagoya (if the repeat pattern type) and fukuro obis have the pattern only one side of the fabric and are plain on the inner side. They are also often rokutsu, which means only patterned along 60% of the length on the outside, the other 40% is plain and is hidden underneath when the obi is wound twice round the waist. Rokutsu are also usually patterned on only one side. One that is patterned along 100% of its length is called zentzu.
Maru obis are the most formal ones and have the same pattern on both sides and are zentsu obis, that is, the pattern is along the entire length, even the hidden areas. They are particularly heavy and vastly expensive obis. Maru obis are rarely worn nowadays, usually reserved for brides. They are very vollectable, as they are becoming rarer, and offer a lot of fabric for remaking, as they are wider and patterned along their entire length on both sides
Nagoya, fukuro and maru obis can be tied at the rear in a variety of musuba (knots) but the most popular and easiest is the taiko knot. For this and many other knots they require other items; a makura pad for inside the top of the knot, an obiage to help hold the knot in place and to cover the makura and hold it, and an obijime cord to tie around the centre of the sash and through the knot, to hold it in place. A fourth item is often used too, an obi mae ita (obi ita), which is a board that is slipped behind the front of the sash to keep it firm and avoid creasing as one moves.. The obijime cord is sometimes decorated with an obidome (a spcial obi ‘brooch’ the cord is threaded through) at the centre front. All these items are usually bought separately.
Hanhaba obis are lightweight, informal obis and are usually tied in cho cho musuba (bow knots) and worn with casual yukata kimonos.
2 Part obis have become popular with those short of time or skill at tying obis, they are called tsukure obi. They are most popular as 2 part hanhaba obis, for casual wear with kimonos like yukatas, or as 2 part Nagoya obis, with the knot section pre-shaped in the square taiko knot style. Some 2 part obi, however, do not have the rear knot section pre-shaped, the rear section still has to be folded into shape but that is much, much easier than shaping it on a one piece obi.
Obi rear knots of the square taiko shape (and some others), whether on Nagoya, maru of fukuro obi, are are held in place using an obiage and an obijime, those types are also padded out at the top of the knot with an obi makura bustle pad; all of these items are bought separately, although one can improvise with them.