Bebe Taian: Coveted Kimono: So Many Obi Choices

January 24, 2013

Coveted Kimono: So Many Obi Choices

A long while back, I wrote about an impressive gift from my mother-in-law. It's a beautiful kimono from Taisho era, with brass-wrapped kinran (evidenced by how it's turned greenish in places), with yuzen dyeing and the original lining.

Possibly, it was an elaborate maiko's hikizuri, as there are tiny pinpricks in the sleeves at the shoulders and halfway down the sode (sleeves), approximately where tucks would be. Perhaps it was for a specific dance, which seems more likely than 'daily' work wear. But then, it's possible that like many henshin kimono, it's a Taisho-era wedding kimono that was later converted into a maiko-style hikizuri kimono...

Actually, the kimono is far more stained than it looks in the photos, but many of them are so faint that they don't show up well in photos. Still, the kimono is very long for the average furisode of the time, and it is still in beautiful condition! Someone tried to repair it before, but was a novice at best. I will not attempt to fix it myself until I am more practiced at kimono construction.

Today, I am thinking once again about the perfect obi for this magnificent work. Ideally, I'd like a period-correct maru obi, but those aren't exactly easy to find. I'll settle for a modern-made, preferably silk, maru or fukuro obi which has a complimentary pattern and colouring. I'm happy to see that I have some options!

 There are small amounts of black in the shoulders, hidden in the leaves, and lots of orange and gold. Some of the brass is still adhered to the silk, so there are metallic effects where some of the fabric looks golden yellow! Naturally, I'd want this to replay in the obi. I also enjoy maiko-style high contrast between colours, and the kiri motif in this obi makes it a winner. I love the big, bold patterns! But I'm not sure if lime green is what I'm going for here. It's a green that isn't present in the kimono, and I think it might clash, despite the other common threads...

(see what I did there? :P)
 This one I like, but does it come off as henshin-style?

Again with the high contrast, this time in the appropriate orange shade, and LOTS of bold kiri! The blues and greens are all in the kimono, too!

I'm not sure if that's a silver or gold metallic embroidery at the bottom, or if it's a muted mix of the two. The silvery appearance of some of the leaves is the only thing that throws this obi off for me, but many say that silver and gold are 'neutrals' in kimono and can be used with everything. But then, there are paler grey highlights in the kimono, which may liken themselves to the silver elements of this obi.

Even though it's very henshin-style, I think it might be my favourite!

This one, I'm not really sure about at all. It has flowing patterns in two (maybe three) seasons, indicated by the sakura, kikyo, and waves. Gold, orange, black. Large, bold patterns. But does it truly fit?

Somehow, I think with only the three tones, it doesn't work quite as well as an obi with a little more depth and colour. And perhaps the motifs are *too* large and busy. I don't want an obi that fights for attention.

... some women dress up as Western-style dolls, or princesses, or alien-fighting anime protagonists. I want to be a living ningyo. Is that so wrong?

(All obi photos courtesy of Ichiroya, where I have gotten some of my favourite kimono.)

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