An iconic Art Deco black celluloid hair comb in a sculptural design
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 5½ x 4 ins (14 x 10 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s – 1920s
Here we have a striking black celluloid comb made in an iconic sculptural form which is the very spirit of Art Deco. It was made almost a hundred years ago but is so advanced in its pure simplicity and economy of design that it could have been made yesterday.
This new style was marked by a return to symmetry, geometric shapes, and general stylisation of decorative motifs. Many of these Art Deco combs are in pure, abstract forms, with little surface ornamentation for a very powerful effect. The strong contrasting shapes – ovals, squares, or oblongs - show a deep appreciation and understanding of the potential of the material, whether plastic, metal or organic.
More extreme ornaments produced under the influence of Art Deco reflect the modern qualities of the modernist 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, while the Bauhaus was an attempt to combine craftsmanship and high design with mass production.
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.
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