This Japanese antique Kanzashi pair of yellow or gold resin is decorated in high relief including a crane, pine, sakura or cherry blossoms and a duck This type antique kanzashi- see more below at the end of this paragraph- are harder to find than the metal and other pieces. The larger piece with decorated relief is made with great detail. It is a pin at the end with an opening in the middle. On several kanzashi museum websites I read that this style was used to pull the hair through such as a pony tell holder. Because we collected a few more pieces of this type and color, we decided to combine the clip style as seen in the pictures with this one, which can also be used to hold the piece and hair in place for various hair styles, the legs fit through the opening in the long piece. Historically, a maiko wore or wears three pieces together. This is a great antique kanzashi set dating to the end of Meiji period of 1868-1912. Because of my challenge getting a good picture of the two together, I combined the seller's pictures into one. As one can see while the colors look different, they looked very much the same to me when handling. There is however some subtle differences, the small piece is more yellow or lighter. It is possible this is due to an age difference or patina, as the materials seem the same.
According to the Japanese dealers from whom I purchased these two pieces, they are both about 100 years old. In the old days, tortoiseshell was used to make these style kanzashi. I am working on how to tell the difference in the two but it should not be too difficult. We do have one piece we know is tortoiseshell. In 1973, the collection and trade of tortoiseshell worldwide was banned under CITES or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. The material was already often imitated in stained horn, plastic and other materials, and this continues. According to the dealer from whom we purchased the large piece, it is most likely resin. Both pieces are in in excellent condition. We have collected many kanzashi and are working on both restoration of some and combining of others into different sets for the store.
SIZE: Long piece: 6.8 in or 17.27 cm, Round clip piece about 2 inches shorter
We have many Hair ornaments in many categories, the best way to find them is to do a search on 'kanzashi' in the search bar on the top right
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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