A faux tortoiseshell Spanish mantilla style comb with openwork design
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 8¼ x 5½ ins (21 x 14 cm) decorative part 5 ins h (13 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s – 1920s
Here is a nice quality Spanish style comb in celluloid faux tortoiseshell with a very high wedge shaped profile. It is made from celluloid faux tortoiseshell in a classic foliage and scroll design and probably dates from the early 20th century. The comb has a high rectangular heading with a classic design of scrolls and foliage.
The pictures with the mannequin show the height and effect in wear, and the manner in which the beautiful heading design may be seen from all angles. The collage picture shows sitters from contemporary Spanish photographs wearing similar mantilla combs.
The term 'Spanish mantilla combs' is often used as a kind of umbrella category for any decorative hair comb with a high upstanding cresting that rises up proud from the top of the head when the comb is placed in position. However, the Spanish mantilla comb or Peineta, to give it the correct name, is rightly that comb which is part of the beautiful and traditional native dress worn in certain parts of Spain.
The high combs with which we are familiar were adopted at the Spanish court and this led to their being regarded as part of traditional Spanish costume.
Many of the later 19th and early 20th century hair ornaments which appear to be made of tortoiseshell are, in fact, made from synthetics. These faux tortoise combs are some of the prettiest to be found at this period, since it is unusual to find two exactly alike. Some of them are very convincing and difficult to distinguish from the genuine material, and are skilfully treated to imitate the brown and orange mottling of genuine tortoiseshell.
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