Elegant Cranes Obi 12.5" x 160", Gold, Red, Orange, Green. Vintage Japan.
It's a treasure. Heavy, opulent, glistening shine, rich with gold warp showing through the beige base fabric, plus bright red, orange, and green with lots of shiny gold. Stunning, large bright red and orange woven chrysanthemums, and flying white cranes.This is a formal maru obi; see below.
It's probably rayon or rayon/silk blend, and several decades old. Size is 12 1/2" x 160" (One foot wide, 13.3 feet long). The entire obi is brocade, front and back. There are no plain-weave, unembellished areas on this older, traditional obi at all.
The other side of the obi is the coordinating fabric with large red, green and gold ships sailing upon golden waves.
Overall this obi is in near perfect condition, and been meticulously cared for. There are 2 minor flaws, which we show in the last 2 photos.
Maru obi (丸帯, "one-piece obi") is the most formal obi. The fabric is folded around a double lining and sewn together. Maru obi were at their most popular during the Taishō (1912-1926) and Meiji (1868-1912) periods. Their bulk and weight is substantial. Vintage Maru obi now are worn mostly by geishas, maikos (apprentice geishas) and brides in Japan. A maru obi is typically fully patterned and often has embellished metal-coated yarns and foilwork such as this.
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