A spectacular “Oriental” signed series hair accessory by master comb maker Auguste Bonaz
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 3 ins h x 6 ins w (7.5 x 15 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910-1920S
MATERIALS: celluloid (an early synthetic)
I have has several examples of this spectacular comb in my possession over the years and they always go quickly!
This handsome comb bears the signature of Auguste Bonaz, the master comb maker of the Art Deco period. His innovative and varied designs are widely collected and no comb collection is really complete without an example by Bonaz.
Bonaz combs were produced in distinctive collections and this is from the “Oriental” collection which typically features Eastern motifs such as Geisha heads, Chinese lanterns, cherry blossoms, and so on.
In this spectacular cream celluloid comb we see a figural representation of a Geisha, with elaborate hair dressing and ornaments. She is surrounded by formalised representations of the “kiku” or chrysanthemum, the national flower of Japan. At the other extremity of the heading is a representation of a lantern.
The final picture shows an example of the kinds of publicity material which advertised such combs, including the actual model on sale here.
Art Deco was a sophisticated art movement which gathered in influences from a number of different t cultures. It was far more complex than simply a geometric style which employed plastic, metals and mass production. On the contrary it is a highly sophisticated design movement in which many different influences were mended and intertwined. Most important among these was the art of the orient, particularly Japan and China.
Maison Bonaz worked in new materials such as Bakelite and Galalith, and explored the versatility of the materials and their specific qualities. The work of House Bonaz reflected the modern qualities of the constructivist and futurist art movements, and the aesthetics of the Bauhaus. In Modernism the emphasis was upon the medium, and the process of production rather than the intrinsic value of the materials. Futurism too 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. The Bauhaus was an attempt to combine craftsmanship and high design with mass production.
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