A handsome Spanish mantilla style hair comb with a figural peacock
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 8 ins h x 7 ins w (20 x 18 cm) decorative part 5½ ins h (14 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: mid 20th century
Here is a fine Spanish mantilla type hair comb dating from the mid 20th century. It is made from celluloid faux tortoiseshell and shows an unusual design of a peacock perched on a branch amidst foliage.
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 collage photograph shows several illustrations taken from contemporary sources and depicts similar ornaments and how they were placed in the hair styles of the day.
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. The use of the peineta declined somewhat in its native Spain during the 20th century. There was a vogue in the early Art Deco period for “Spanish” inspired dress, fuelled by the celebrities of the day appearing in films and on popular glamour cards in this “Spanish fantasy” guise.
In the mid 20th century the growth of the Spanish tourist industry led to a renewed interest in Spanish dance and costume and many such combs are now made for the tourist market.
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