An elegant and beautiful black hair comb in a classic design
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 4½ x 4¼ ins (approx 11 x 10.5 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s – 1920s
Here we have a black celluloid back comb equipped with a simple and sculptural design which is generally known as the Greek Key. Above the cut out key design is placed a row of what appear to be faceted French jet. However these “jets” are in fact molded from the surface of the comb. The design is that of a simple back comb, intended to be worn at the rear of the dressing.
The final picture shows a contemporary magazine advertisement for the French House of Auguste Bonaz featuring a black hair comb of very similar design. The comb is presented as an object of desire.
The Greek Key is an ancient pattern, found in classical Greek and Roman architecture and also used in Mediterranean vases and in mosaics. It is a type of running ornament, often contained within a border, consisting of a fret design with many involved turnings. Some historians feel that the Greek key has its basis in the Greek myth of the labyrinth that imprisoned the Minotaur.
Another suggestion is that it is a stylized representation of waves (square ones!). Whatever its origin, the Greek key is one of the most attractive and typical designs which appear upon these historical type hair ornaments.
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