This Japanese antique Tachibana Kanzashi or hairpin with flower relief in gold, silver and coral beads have what appear to be a newer set of flat metal birabira with butterflies at the end. The silver mixed metal legs and base top which includes silver at about 400 purity, and an ornamental round piece is decorated with hand cut and handmade flowers in relief finished in the center with the traditional coral colored beads. It appears that the original bira-bira were replaced with new flat metal pieces connected by silver loops. the butterflies on the end of the bira bira appear older. The legs and round piece at top as well as the scoop spoon are the heaviest pieces, then the chains, and the decorative floral pieces are thinner. It is a beautiful antique traditional piece dating to the mid to late 19th century Meiji period. It is in excellent condition and I forgot to take the lights out for the pictures, so they are even more beautiful in person and more vibrant in color than it appears in my pictures both the metals and beads. This is one of the harder styles to find still and the original top portion of heavy flower work is in excellent condition. This is a kanzashi with long tachibana or two metal legs. No damages at all are seen and there was virtually no tarnish only nice patina.
SIZE: Length 7.3 inch or 18.5 cm
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The antiques main metal usually was silver and used very frequently, sometimes copper and iron, and brass was also the popular material. When the Kanzashi was made of brass, silver was sometimes plated on the metal in order to add beauty, or high quality. Gold itself might be used for the special ordered Kanzashi. Silver made Kanzashi was often gold plated fully or partially on the surface and it weighs heavier when compared to brass made ones. Silver and silver alloy products are now at present seen oxidized but if polished the original luster is revived. A large numbers of Kanzashi by various kinds of designs were produced especially after the middle era of Edo period and was continued to Meiji and Taisho eras (1850 ~ 1920), that means Kanzashi was a kind of mass production items. It was usual way not to mark the material name such as (silver or gold) except the special occasion for the high valued Kanzashi .
History of the Kanzashi 簪
Kanzashi were first used in Japan during the Jōmon period. During that time, a single thin rod or stick was considered to have mystical powers which could ward off evil spirits, so people would wear them in their hair. This is also when some of the first predecessors of the modern Japanese hair comb began to appear. During the Nara period, a variety of Chinese cultural aspects and items were brought to Japan, including zan (written with the same Chinese character as kanzashi) and other hair ornaments. During the Heian period, the traditional style of putting hair up was changed to wearing it long, tied back low. It was at this time that kanzashi began to be used as a general term for any hair ornament, including combs and hairpins.
During the Azuchi-Momoyama period, the hairstyles changed from the taregami 垂髪, or long straight hair, to the wider variety of "Japanese hair" 日本髪 Nihongami) which make more use of hair ornaments. Kanzashi came into wide use during the Edo period, when hairstyles became larger and more complicated, using a larger number of ornaments. Artisans began to produce more finely crafted products, including some hair ornaments that could be used as defensive weapons. During the latter part of the Edo period, the craftsmanship of kanzashi reached a high point, with many styles and designs being created (see Types of kanzashi, below).
Tsumami kanzashi has been officially designated as a traditional Japanese handcraft in the Tokyo region since 1982. Traditionally trained professional artisans typically undergo five to ten years of apprenticeship; from 2002 to 2010, their estimated number in the country decreased from fifteen to five However, the petal-folding technique has become a popular hobby, due to instructional books, kits, and lessons from sources such as the Tsumami Kanzashi Museum in Shinjuku. Some students have bypassed the traditional apprenticeship system to establish themselves as independent professional artisans of tsumami kanzashi in Japan. Currently, the use of kanzashi has declined significantly in favor of more Western hairstyles. The most common use of kanzashi now is in Shinto weddings and use by maiko (apprentice geisha).
Nowadays, kanzashi are most often worn by brides; by professional kimono wearers such as geisha, tayū and yujo; or by adepts in Japanese tea ceremony and ikebana. However, there is currently a revival among young Japanese women who wish to add an elegant touch to their business suit. See Wikipedia for more about the different types
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