An example of an unusual jade green celluloid floral hair comb with carved appearance
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 6½ ins h x 5½ ins w (16.5 x 14 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s to 1920s
This very beautiful jade green comb is made in one of the fancy celluloid effects which became popular in the early 20th century. Here the effect is marbleised to represent jade. Other popular effects were those of moiré and cloudy amber.
The design represents a series of large daisy like flowers, probably intended to be chrysanthemums which are iconic in Japanese art. The use of the jade green is also a nod towards Japan. Art Deco was an eclectic design movement which incorporated elements from many different periods and cultures. The art of Japan was one such influence.
Combs like this were worn as shown in picture 9 which is taken from a contemporary hair comb advertisement from a French magazine of the 1920s. We can see that one sitter is wearing a similarly large Spanish style comb and has placed it in the hair at an angle so that the beautiful openwork heading can be seen to great advantage.
This lovely ornament is transitional in that it exhibits characteristics of two great design movements, Art Nouveau and Art Deco.
The Art Nouveau influence is indicated by complex naturalistic motifs like the flowers which are represented both face and side on. Art Deco borrowed extensively from Art Nouveau in its highly stylised and graceful designs. However Deco took the free-flowing curves and naturalistic motifs and replaced them with more geometric and symmetrical themes which began to emerge about 1910. Naturalism in the representation of flowers, leaves and insects is replaced by stylisation and formalism. Although floral elements persist there is a stiffness and artificiality about the form of the general design here which is leading inexorably towards the formalised geometry of Art Deco.
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Item ID: C12-12-0010
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