Obi (帯, おび) is a Japanese word meaning “belt” or “band”. Mostly, it is used to describe the types of sash worn with kimono and keikogi.
Obi are worn by both men and women. They can be very simple, made of one layer of lightweight fabric, or decorated heavily, made of stiff, woven material, embroidered and dyed with different designs.
Obi for men are less wide and shorter than obi for women. Men mostly wear kaku obi, but sometimes wear heko obi, which are made of much softer material. Heko obi are worn casually, but kaku obi can be worn casually and formally.
Obi for women are much wider and longer. Most women usually wear a nagoya obi, which is wider at one end. In summer, women wear hanhaba obi with yukata. Formal obi for women can be woven from metallic yarns, covered in embroidery, or dyed in an elegant design.
Obi for women are usually the most expensive part of a kimono outfit. However, obi for men can be expensive as well. Expensive obi are usually made by very skilled artists. Some of these people are called National Living Treasures because they are so skilled.
This spectacular silk obi has been embroidered a with three-dimensional embroidery with the hira-nui technique. Photos do not do this artisan masterpiece justice. The embroidery is of such quality and sophistication that it is three-dimensional, with texture, different layers, heights and volumes. The composition includes animal and plant motifs.
Size: 213×36 cms
Made in: 1960s