Dude, It’s A Darari!

Last week, I became the owner of the following beauty:

I am ecstatic! This maiko obi was up for sale on YJA a week ago…I still can’t believe I won it. There is a bit of a question as to whether or not it’s a full-length darari obi though. The seller listed the length as 440 cm. A darari obi, (the type used by maiko) is at least 600 cm in length. It’s possible then, that this is a han-darari, or “half-darari”, worn by a minarai. (Minarai are girls in the month-long training period before becoming a true maiko.) Han-darari are tied in the same style as darari obi, only at half the length. According to some of the girls over on the IG forums, the older minarai obi do in fact have mon on them. Right now, it’s a 50/50 as to what this might be. It’s quite possible that the seller made a typo and listed it as 440cm instead of 640cm, but it’s also possible that their measurements were correct. We won’t know until it comes in the mail and I can measure it….which is projected to be sometime next week.

I really hope that it’s a darari, but even if it isn’t, I have a minarai outfit planned anyway. If it does turn out to be a minarai’s, I think I might be able to use mojuko’s darari-style tutorial for maru obi to fake a maiko look anyway. 🙂

According to Jaki-san and Tahanala over on IG, the mon on this obi belonged to a Gion okiya which is no longer in operation. Jaki-san found a picture of a maiko wearing the same mon in the 1974 book Maiko of Gion, which she scanned and has up on her flickr account. (Photos used with permission)

The book cover:

The mon picture:

This particular mon is called a “Kikyou Knot” (結び桔梗), according to IG member 花魁の美. Currently, I am on the hunt for more pictures of this mon. It’s a little hard, since there are not as many photos of the 70’s as there are of today’s geisha. If anyone sees this mon in another photo somwehere, if they could inform me, I’d be most grateful. However, I am going to try my hardest to figure out which okiya it was that owned this obi!


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