Home »

Obi (sash)

The meaning of «obi (sash)»

An obi (帯) is a belt of varying size and shape worn with both traditional Japanese clothing and uniforms for Japanese martial arts styles. Originating as a simple thin belt in Heian period Japan, the obi developed over time into a belt with a number of different varieties, with a number of different sizes and proportions, lengths, and methods of tying. The obi, which once did not differ significantly in appearance between men and women, also developed into a greater variety of styles for women than for men.

Despite the kimono having been at one point and continuing to appear to be held shut by the obi, many modern obi are too wide and stiff to function in this way, with a series of ties known as koshihimo, worn underneath the obi, used to keep the kimono closed instead.

Obi are categorised by their design, formality, material, and use, and can be made of a number of types of fabric, with heavy brocade weaves worn for formal occasions, and some lightweight silk obi worn for informal occasions. Obi are also made from materials other than silk, such as cotton, hemp and polyester, though silk obi are considered a necessity for formal occasions. In the modern day, pre-tied obi, known as tsuke or tsukiri obi, are also worn, and do not appear any different to a regular obi when worn.

Though obi can be inexpensive when bought second-hand, they typically cost more than a kimono, particularly when purchased brand-new. A number of specialist fabrics used particularly to make obi are highly prized for their craftsmanship and reputation of quality, such as nishijin-ori, produced in the Nishijin district of Kyoto, and hakata-ori produced in Fukuoka prefecture.

In its early days, the obi was a cord or ribbon-like sash, approximately 8 centimetres (3.1 in) in width. Men's and women's obi were similar. At the beginning of the 17th century, both women and men wore a thin, ribbon-like obi. By the 1680s, the width of women's obi had already doubled from its original size. In the 1730s women's obi were about 25 centimetres (9.8 in) wide, and at the turn of the 19th century were as wide as 30 centimetres (12 in). At that time, separate ties and cords were necessary to hold the obi in place. Men's obi were widest in the 1730s, at about 16 centimetres (6.3 in).[1]

Before the Edo period, which began in the mid-1600s, kosode robes were fastened with a narrow sash at the hips.[2] The mode of attaching the sleeve widely to the torso part of the garment would have prevented the use of wider obi. When the sleeves of the kosode began to grow in both horizontal width and vertical length at the beginning of the Edo period, the obi widened as well. There were two reasons for this: firstly, to maintain the aesthetic balance of the outfit, the longer sleeves needed a wider sash to accompany them; secondly, unlike today (where they are customary only for unmarried women) married women also wore long-sleeved kimono in the 1770s. The use of long sleeves without leaving the underarm open would have hindered movements greatly. These underarm openings in turn made room for even wider obi.[1]

Related Searches

Obina Shok
© 2015-2021, Wikiwordbook.info
Copying information without reference to the source is prohibited!
contact us mobile version