A handsome black celluloid Art Deco period hair comb in the iconic sunray design
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 6½ ins h x 6½ ins w (16 cms x 16 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1920s
This striking and glossy black celluloid hair comb is of the type generally known as a Spanish comb. It has the traditional shape of the unfurled fan with an attractive stepped profile and a design which features radiating spokes. Like many of these Art Deco fan shaped combs the ornament is as wide as it is high.
It is made in the Art Deco style which discarded the art of the past in favour of change, originality and innovation. It glorified the new technology of the automobile and the glory of speed and power and movement.
This influence can be seen in the design of combs whereby spokes or openwork lines radiate outwards from the base of the heading. This is a very typical motif in Art Deco combs, and in the art of the period. Some people interpret the spokes as representing the wheel, and thus symbolising the Futurist fascination with speed and machinery. Here the spokes are etched upon a solid black fan shape which appears modern enough to have been made yesterday.
Combs like this were worn as shown in picture 9 which is taken from a contemporary coloured postcard of the early 20th century. We can see that the sitter is wearing a similar fan shape comb and has placed at a jaunty angle in the hair so that the beautiful openwork heading can be seen from all angles.