I continue to make ploddingly slow progress when it comes to my share of the obi bundle. Today, the fukuro obi.
Gold and white fukuro obi with traditional patterns
I love the variation of traditional kimono textures and patterns on this obi. I've needed a traditional white and gold obi to pair with kurotomesode for quite some time now, so I'm very pleased I managed to get this one. Another interesting note about it – unlike most modern fukuro obi, which are only patterned on the visible areas, this one is fully patterned down the entire length. This will allow for much more leeway when it comes to tying it.
Gold and seafoam green fukuro with round karabana and clouds
Okay, this one? IMPOSSIBLE to photograph properly. It's just waaaaay too shiny. It's not the sort of thing I'd normally consider my tastes, but I love the soft seafoam green colour, and the gold has this really interesting irridescent shift to it, so I couldn't resist. I have no idea what I'll pair it with, but I don't care. It's gorgeous!
Plum fukuro with kiku
This one is really interesting. At first glance it's sort of dull and drab, even the gold and silver of the kiku is muted compared to most modern fukuro obi. However, the fabric is incredibly lush and rich-feeling, and the base is very unique. It's a heavy rinzu of kiku leaves, so it's almost as if the flowers are sitting on a bed of plants. The colour is also impossible to describe – in some lights it's a plummy eggplant purple, and in some it's sort of an espresso brown. I can't stop looking at it, because there's always something new to see. It's so subtle, but so unique.
Cream fukuro with pastel tachibana
This poor beautiful baby has a fair amount of age-related patina, and due to the pale base colour it's quite visible. However, I'm sure I can find a way to wrap and tie it so that the worst parts are hidden. I love tachibana so I had to give this one a chance.
Kansai_gal sent me this in the box of amazing things that included the bunny geta from the previous entry. She knows my tastes so well, I am totally smitten with it!
On the surface it looks like a plain black three-crested formal haori, but it's scattered with black urushi birds that appear to be crows or ravens. I suspect it's also relatively old, it's quite long (even on my tall frame), and the crests are larger than modern ones, but the sleeves are short, so either it's from a pre-war transitional period, or the sleeves were cut short at some point. Either way, it's a beautiful and unique piece that I look forward to wearing, possibly with my crow obi (although now, comparing the birds, I think it's more likely that the birds on the obi are indeed stylized cormorants, but I will continue to refer to it as crowbi because I am stubborn that way).
Just a quick post today, because I'm too excited not to share this! A few months back, Naomi was kind enough to orchestrate and organize a huge obi bundle split amongst a few members of the IG forums. After much negotiation and wheedling, we each ended up with an amazing selection, and I got my box today! Here's a little preview of all the glorious goodies I'll be cataloguing over the next little while.
My track record of “adopting” things from other folks once again rears its head today. Both of these were inherited from prior owners.
Sythetic hitoe with BUNNIES!
I'm sorry, I'm just far too excited by this piece. It's just so cute! Jaclyn bought it and another komon with bunnies at the same time, and decided that the other one was more to her liking. I'd mentioned how cute I found this one, and she knows how difficult it is for me to find kimono that fit me well, so here it is! This thing is a whopping 171cm/68″ long, and 140cm/55″ wide. It's enormous, and the only kimono I own that fits me properly. It's unlined but not summer weave, so I should be able to get a fair bit of wear out of it in this climate.
Purple geometric meisen komon
Naomi got this in a large bundle, and kindly gave it to me when I was down there visiting a while ago. It's just about long enough for me to fudge a tiny ohashori out of, and if need be I can wear it without one due to how casual it is. The colour is so rich and lush.
If anyone needed further proof that I am spoiled far beyond anything I might possibly deserve, this is it. Friends and loved ones in the hobby are constantly sending me lavish gifts, but I think this one takes the cake. It's a gorgeous lavender hikizuri that appears to have belonged to a geisha, with a motif of araiso, or carp and crashing waves, dyed in white and indigo. When I saw it on eBay, I fell hard in love with it. Unfortunately, I'd just splurged on a trip so my friend Keith and myself could go to California together and I could spend some time with Naomi. I did bid on it, but I knew once it hit a certain point, I couldn't keep fighting, and had to bow out. I was upset, but I figured it was worth it – I was going to see some friends I hadn't seen in a long time.
Fast forward to the trip itself. Keith has gone home and I'm settling in at Naomi's place, and she's (inevitably) dumping kimono in my lap. The two haori I posted about recently were some of the items I ended up with. At one point, she hands me a folded up purple-grey kimono, telling me it's “some old thing [she] had lying around” and that I might like it. I do like lavender, and I thought it was an iromuji, so you can bet when I opened it up and figured out what the heck it was, I nearly had a heart attack. I have a history of cardiac issues and don't take well to surprises XD I wasn't sure whether to faint or cry. Thankfully I ended up crying, because fainting would have been a nuisance. Naomi confessed to me that she and Erica conspired together to get this for me, after seeing how sad I was that I wouldn't be able to afford it. I really don't deserve these friends! I'm not this good a person, I swear!
The kimono is just so incredibly breathtaking in person – photos do not do it justice. The gradient is so skillfully done, it is a perfect fade from a desaturated grey-lilac to a richer purple, and the yuzen work of the crashing waves and jumping carp on the hem is very thin and very detailed. The addition of the indigo really makes the carp pop out, and then some of them are lightly outlined in gold leaf. It's a stunning piece, exactly the sort of thing I would expect on a slightly older, subdued geisha, someone who lets her art speak for itself but still makes sure her wardrobe will not be forgotten.
I treasure this piece, and it's really one of the gems of my collection. I will never part with it.