Made in Japan, 1900-1948.

This kimono, obi and wrapping cloth are an important addition to the Museum’s holdings of Japanese dress. Traditional dress is one of the richest expressions of material culture and defines cultural identity.

The kimono is one of the most recognisable of national costumes. This stylised and colourful kimono and the exquisite fabric of the obi express the aesthetic sensibilities, culture and customs of the people of Japan. Over time, the Japanese people have adopted a more western style of dress...


Obi (maru), womens, silk, maker unknown, Japan, 1900-1948

A double width obi made in woven brocade silk decorated with a pattern of open and closed fans featuring chrysanthemums, bamboo and geometric motifs in green, blue, orange, pale yellow and mauve on an embroidered gold and beige background.


316 mm
6 mm


An obi is the sash tied around a kimono. It can be tied in a variety of ways ranging from the simple to the elaborate with a complicated style taking up to half an hour to tie. An obi can vary from 30cms wide to 4 metres in length.

The obi conforms to the many rules that characterise Japanese dress. For instance, a formal obi is identifiable by the quality of fabric and density of pattern. This obi of woven brocade silk satin in gold is sumptuously patterned for the entire length of the obi on both sides distinguishing it as a formal obi known as a maru obi. Quality maru obi as exemplified by this obi are rare and highly valued by collectors for the patina and lustre of the gold thread, the beautiful designs and quality of workmanship of the textile.


Gift of Mrs Betty Manefield, 2007
15 August, 2007

Cite this Object

Obi 2016, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 20 November 2017, <>
{{cite web |url= |title=Obi |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=20 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
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