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Obi

Accession Number
2005/1.344

Title
Obi

Artist(s)
Japanese

Artist Nationality
Japanese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
1950s-1960s

Medium & Support
red silk with woven and embroidered design and gold wrapped thread

Dimensions
158 1/4 in x 12 5/8 in (402 cm x 32 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Howard and Patricia Yamaguchi

Label copy
These gorgeous obi, all made of brocade, were intended to be worn with and complement formal kimono for festive events such as weddings and New Year’s gatherings. Some are designed with motifs, shapes, and colors that have auspicious meaning. For example, the green obi with the gold hexagonal shapes refers to eternity (evergreen) and longevity (the hexagon is a traditional symbol of a tortoise shell). Others have classic motifs, such as the off-white obi with drums and ox carts based on the Tale of Genji, an eleventh-century novella. 
​These obi were made in the Nishijin area of the city of Kyoto, which has dominated the production of high-quality woven textiles since the fifteenth century. The weaving industry flourished there under the protection and encouragement of the flamboyant military rulers of the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568–1615), Oda Nobunaga (1534–1582) and Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536–1598). The production of Nishijin textiles is very complex, and specialized in five main areas—designing and creating patterns, producing silk threads, producing tools (including weaving machines), weaving, and final sewing—each accomplished in a different workshop. 

; Label copy
These gorgeous obi, all made of brocade, were intended to be worn with and complement formal kimono for festive events such as weddings and New Year’s gatherings. Some are designed with motifs, shapes, and colors that have auspicious meaning. For example, the green obi with the gold hexagonal shapes refers to eternity (evergreen) and longevity (the hexagon is a traditional symbol of a tortoise shell). Others have classic motifs, such as the off-white obi with drums and ox carts based on the Tale of Genji, an eleventh-century novella. 
​These obi were made in the Nishijin area of the city of Kyoto, which has dominated the production of high-quality woven textiles since the fifteenth century. The weaving industry flourished there under the protection and encouragement of the flamboyant military rulers of the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568–1615), Oda Nobunaga (1534–1582) and Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536–1598). The production of Nishijin textiles is very complex, and specialized in five main areas—designing and creating patterns, producing silk threads, producing tools (including weaving machines), weaving, and final sewing—each accomplished in a different workshop. 

; Label copy
Obi
Japan, Showa period (1926–1989)
1950s–60s
Red silk with woven and embroidered design and gold wrapped thread
Gift of Howard and Patricia Yamaguchi, 2005/1.344

Subject matter
The red color of this obi is a bold and auspicious one, and marks the obi as one probably worn only for weddings or other formal celebrations. The motifs within the medallions that decorate the obi are traditonal symbols of longevity.
This gorgeous obi, made of brocade, was intended to be worn with and complement formal kimono for festive events such as weddings and New Year’s gatherings. 
This obi was made in the Nishijin area of the city of Kyoto, which has dominated the production of high-quality woven textiles since the fifteenth century. The production of Nishijin textiles is very complex, and specialized in five main areas—designing and creating patterns, producing silk threads, producing tools (including weaving machines), weaving, and final sewing—each accomplished in a different workshop. 

Physical Description
This is made of a thick brocade of red, gold and silver. Medallion patterns and wavy stripes are woven through the entirety of the fabric, rather than halfway, as is common in less intricate obi. Medallion motifs of tortoise shells, flowers, and bamboo leaves are spaced among the golden waves across the fabric.

Primary Object Classification
Costume and Costume Accessories

Primary Object Type
obi

Additional Object Classification(s)
Textile

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
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Keywords
bamboo (material)
embroidery (visual works)
kimonos
obis
silk (silkworm material)
tortoises

& Author Notes

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