A handsome fan shaped hair comb from the Art Deco period
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 6¼ ins h x 6 ins w (15.5 x 15 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s – 1920s
MATERIALS: celluloid, rhinestones
Here is an attractive celluloid hair comb dating from the early 20th century. It is made in translucent celluloid with a pale pinkish brown shade that is difficult to describe. It is made in the shape of an unfurled fan with a complex design that resembles the sticks of a fan or sunrays. The piercings incorporate both lattice work and small flowers. The top edge is further embellished with deep red rhinestones.
This type of ornament is often known as Spanish or mantilla comb because it resembles a smaller version of the traditional large shell ornaments worn by Spanish ladies with their native dress. In practice any comb which has a high upstanding heading or top which stands proud of the top of the head is often called a mantilla comb.
The final collage picture is taken from contemporary photographs of sitters wearing these large Spanish style combs, sometimes at an acute angle.
Art Deco 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.
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