This Japanese antique pair of hairpins includes one yellow-gold resin type Hirauchi and one faux Tortoiseshell Kanzashi. We are saying 'resin type' because we are not one hundred percent sure that is the material, but what we read as being used most often for this type. I want to say this is real tortoiseshell, but we have one very old tortoiseshell kanzashi with patina, and we can tell the difference although this one is really nice. Both kanzashi date to the Meiji period, about post-turn of the century of 1868-1912.
The Hirauchi kanzashi is the type with an ornament with a flat rounded decoration. The piece on the end is made thickly with the decorations of a bird and flowers and it has two legs. It has an earspoon on the end as most Hirauchi do. The faux Tortoiseshell Kanzashi is similar to the Kogai kanzashi in style but does not come apart. When we started collecting kanzashi - in addition to those not posted yet because they need upcycling due to age and wear- we decided we would start combining what we had collected to sell in pairs because it is nice to have at least two to wear together, or three if possible, such as is the custom for the maiko. Of course, some look good as a single and work well alone.
These are in good antique condition, they are used so may have some scratches, ect., but do not have any broken spots or damage. Two important notes: the Hirauchi kanzashi picture in the first picture is a different piece than the hirauchi in the rest. The hirauchi with the bird and flower in pictures 2-9 will be the one that is part of this pair. And, we combined pictures to get the best of both. As mentioned, they are used; however as seen in the pictures there are no significant scratches and there are no damages or missing parts. We chose the hirauchi we did to go with the tortoiseshell because it is heavier and looks better with it. And, looking at the pictures of the tortoiseshell I took with light shining through it makes me think it is the real thing again. It is a beautiful piece and gorgeous pair. Stand not included as they are not with any of our items.
Size: Hirauchi kanzashi: Lenght 6 1/4 in. or 15.87 cm, Round piece diameter about 1 in. or 2.54 cm
The faux Tortoiseshell Kanzashi: Lenght 7 7/8 in. or 20 cm, Width about 1/2 in. or 1.27 cm at widest.
History of the Kanzashi 簪
of Note, there was a lot of gold plated Kanzashi exactly like this one shown as an example on Wiki.
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. From and See Wikipedia for more about the different types.
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