Art Deco Hair Comb Gilded Faux Tortoiseshell Sunray Design
SIZE: 5¼ ins h x 5 ins w (13.5 x 12.5 cms)
CONDITION: very slight loss of the gilding in the centre portion of the heading otherwise no issues
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1920s
MATERIAL: celluloid with gilding
This is a classic fan shaped Spanish style comb of the period. It has a radiating spoke like design with two panels of fancy pierced work placed at the extremities. The decoration of the spokes comprises applied gilding. In the centre of the heading we see the sunray motif which is one of the most iconic symbols of the Art Deco period.
In the heading as a whole the sunray motif is abstracted to a series of lines or mere spokes which radiate out from the base of the heading. This is a very typical motif in Art Deco combs, and in the art of the period. Some people interpret the spokes as representing the wheel, and thus symbolising the fascination with speed and machinery. Others believe that the rays represent the sun, and indicate the popular fetish for sun bathing and outdoor exercise. Still others see them as representing the palm leaf, derived from the Egyptian Revival influence which was popular in the 1920s.
Whatever the explanation these Deco combs are extremely attractive and very typical of their period and it is unusual to find two which are exactly the same in their treatment of the motif.
The final picture is taken from a coloured postcard of the era and shows how such large combs were worn, being placed in the hair at a jaunty and often asymmetric angle.
By this period genuine tortoiseshell had become very expensive. Therefore most of the hair ornaments which appear to be made of tortoise are, in fact, made from synthetics. These faux tortoise combs are some of the prettiest to be found at this period, since it is unusual to find two exactly alike. Some of them are very convincing and difficult to distinguish from the genuine material, and are skilfully treated to imitate the brown and orange mottling of genuine tortoiseshell. These faux tortoise combs are probably made from Xylonite, a translucent form of celluloid, and were produced under trade names such as "Tortine" or "Tortoisine".
Item ID: C12-09-004
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Gender: Female, Age Group: Adult, Color: brown, Size: 5¼ ins h x 5 ins w
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