This Japanese Edo antique black Mother of Pearl Kanzashi 簪 is a set of a kogai and comb which dates to the late Meiji period off 1868-1912.. According to history, at some point, it was decided to also call the comb kanzashi, since it is also for hair use and sometimes used as an ornament. Kogai means this style of hair kanzashi, with two rectangle pieces held together by a wooden stick. It is quite incredible how well the sticks are carved to hold the kanzashi so they do not fall out yet it is carved just right to take apart and use, and as a customer commented. This is a very fine set. The Kogai is of unknown material. Both are enamelled in gold and silver flowers of different types with pieces of mother of pearl. Both are either enamelled or lacquer. They are in good condition for their age with expected wear. It is a typical size kanzashi. No surface wear seen, and no chips or cracks, in excellent condition.
Size: Length 6 inches or 15.2 cm
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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, on Wiki).
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 only 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 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.
Excerpts from Wikipedia and see for more about the different types
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