Display Obis & Pretty Bags

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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Obi Displays.
I was asked about obis for display, so I formed a Nagoya obi with a repeat pattern of cute, Japanese Chin dogs and temari (decorative balls) on it and a lovely silk maru obi with phoenix feathers design. I tied them with Japanese, hand made, silk obijime (obi cords). For display I would probably hang them on bamboo rods.

The Maru Obi. Maru have pattern on both sides and are the same width along the entire length.

obi display maru 1A

obi display maru 3a


The Nagoya Obi. This one has an all over repeat pattern. Nagoya obi have pattern on one side only. There is lots of very pretty, golden metallic coated thread in this one. Most Nagoya have the sash section of the obi permanently folded to half depth and on the musubi (rear knot) section at full width, which is why the bow is less deep than on the maru obi.

obi display Nagoya 1a

Tied with a handmade, Japanese, green silk obijime.

obi display Nagoya 2A

Neither obi was cut to make the displays, they remain intact and wearable. Having photographed it, I untied and unflolded the maru obi before adding it to my website but the Chin dog one will be sold in its display form, along with the obijime cord tied round it but the hanger is not included.

I have very recently added some really charming Takekago Kinchaku bags to my website;  bamboo baskets with drawstring interiors. They are such lovely handbags. Some of the styles can be seen here…

Sakura (cherry blossom & Snowflakes) on black.

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Flower Mix on red.
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Tsubaki (camellia) on black
hh iiI also have tabi that match the camellia bag.


You can also check out my website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.


One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora



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Obis Galore – – Vintage Japanese Kimonos etc.

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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Obis Galore

oil painted purple silk obi

The obi above is a purple silk, two part nagoya obi, with a hand painted oil painting of glorious flowers. The large white stitching around the edges is just to keep them neat during storage, they just get pulled out before use.

The obi below has a lovely example of a stylised peacock and sensu (folding fan) shapes, woven in iridescent and metallic, urushi (lacquer coated) thread. The peacock’s feathers shimmer with metallic colours.

peacock nagoya obi

The photos show the rear section of the obis; this shape is known as a taiko. Contrary to what many believe, this shape ‘knot’ is not named after the little taiko hand drums, it is named after the Taiko bridge where this shape of knot was first worn on the opening of the bridge. It was worn by a few geisha and quickly caught on and became fashionable. Although called a knot, it is not actually tied into this shape; The obi sash section is tied and the knot section is folded into this shape and held in place using an obiage and an obijime. The taiko is padded out at the top with a bustle pad called a makura. You can see a nagoya obi being tied into this shape in the video instruction in one of my earlier posts on this blog.

Below is a maru obi.  Maru obis tend to be extra expensive because they have pattern along their entire length and on both sides. Fukuro and nagoya obis usually have pattern on only one side and often only on the parts that show; the section of the sash that doesn’t show may be plain.

maru obi

The next picture shows a reversible, man’s kaku obi and, the picture below that shows a heko obi. Kaku obis are formal wear for indoors and outdoors and a heko, soft obi (also known as a house obi) may used for informal wear at home. The kaku obi has one pattern in the weave on one side and a different one on the other. A kaku obi is wound round the waist and tied at the rear in a clam knot, the heko obi can be tied at the rear in a simple, floppy bow.

kaku obi

Below is a man’s, silk heko obi

heko obi

Obis are exceedingly long, as they are wound round the body more than once, and a woman’s one in particular requires a lot of length for the rear knot too. For example, the heko obi above is 303cm long, 70cm wide and is about half a kilo of silk. A women’s obi is usually much heavier and can cost as much or more than the kimono it is worn with. The obi is always bought separately from the kimono. Think of it like a skirt and blouse, you can’t wear either just on its own; you buy them separately and mix and match.

heko obi

The picture above shows Maiko’s obis, called darari obis. Maiko wear their obis with the ends hanging down at the back and their geisha house’s mon (crest) on the end. Even used, damaged darari obis are incredibly expensive and I have not yet been able to afford one.

Geisha (nowadays called geiko) are hostesses, they are not prostitutes; long ago obis were tied at the front but, when they became deeper and the knots became bulkier, they were worn tied at the back instead and have remained so ever since but the way to tell a prostitute from a geisha used to be that a prostitute continued to wear her obi tied at the front, which made it easier to remove and put back on.