Taka-dai braided obijime, with embroidery

June 28, 2009

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Four obijime purchased at Toji temple market, Kyoto, October 2007.  Second-hand, hand-made obijime were thin on the ground at the time; most second-hand ones were made in China for the Japanese market.  The handle betrays their having been made by hand; condition is only fair. The two burgundy ones at right are obviously standard takadai double-layer pickup designs. The silver with magenta flowers is a plain weave (andagumi) on takadai (two-layer); the flowers appear on one face of the braid only and they give every indication of having been embroidered during the braiding process. The blue one is a two-layer twill weave but with hand-embroidered flowers added after braiding. Rod Owen’s book explains the double-layer pickups done in twill; Makiko Tada’s book dealing with double-layer pickups explains andagumi. I’m not aware of any studies at all concerning the combination of braiding with embroidery, though I have witnessed additional threads ‘dropped into’ the braiding of double-layer pickups at the Iga Ueno Braiding Centre in October 2003; these two-inch long lengths of contrasting colour fibre became “locked” into the surrounding yarn as part of the tightly-tensioned braiding process. As an Australian, I particularly like the embroidered flowers here which strongly resemble calistemon ‘bottlebrushes’.

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