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A spectacular silver tone metal hair comb in the Archaeological style with winged bull and figural humans
CONDITION: there is a solder repair on the back of the heading otherwise good vintage condition
SIZE: 9 ins h x 5¼ ins w (23 x 13.5 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
MARKS: there is a maker’s mark on the back of the heading which I cannot decipher
This unusual and very large hair comb is made in the “Assyrian” style which because popular in the second half of the 19th century, following the discovery of the ruins of the ancient city of Nimrud.
The comb is made in silver tone metal and the large curved heading supports the figure of a winged bull, similar in style to the Portal Guardian statues found at Nimrud (picture 9). These statues take the form of a winged bull and were placed in matched pairs at the entrances to important buildings. The right side of the comb heading is occupied by a human figure in a fanciful version of Assyrian dress derived from temple carvings.
One of the characteristics of the Victorian period was the immense amount of “borrowing” from other periods and cultures which occurred. This affected all aspects of the decorative arts, but particularly the design of jewellery and personal adornments. Therefore we have combs and hair ornaments in the Gothic, the Renaissance, the Assyrian styles, and so-on. What this means is that the ornaments were decorated with designs which were felt to be representative of the period or culture in question. There was no attempt at authenticity, and often the ornaments show a kind of pastiche of motifs which were believed by the designer to represent the particular genre.
FURTHER INFORMATION: Assyria and the Gold of Nimrud
Perhaps one the greatest surviving treasure-troves of ancient jewellery and artefacts is the so-called "Gold of Nimrud," or Nimrud, which was found in the tombs and throne-room of the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud. The Nimrud complex was situated to the south of the ancient Assyria capital of Nineveh (modern-day Mosul, Iraq), along the Tigris river. Although the ruins at Nimrud was discovered in 1848 by a British archaeologist named by Sir Austen Henry Layard, the treasures that were hidden beneath the ruins lay undisturbed until 1988, when an Iraqi archaeologist named Muzahim Mahmud noticed that floor tiles within the ruins had been relaid at some point in the distant past. The Nimrud treasures were on display in the Assyrian galleries of the Iraqi Museum in Baghdad until 2003, when the museum was looted during the Iraq invasion.
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Unusual Archaeological Hair Comb Assyrian Style with Winged Bull and Figure
$113 USD SOLD
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