An unusual high topped Art Deco period faux tortoiseshell hair comb
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 6¼ ins h x 3½ ins w (15.5 x 9 cm) decorative part 3½ ins h (9 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s – 1910s
MATERIALS: faux tortoiseshell celluloid (an early collectible synthetic)
Here is a striking Art Deco faux tortoiseshell comb which dates from the early 20th century. The comb is made mantilla style with a high wedge shaped heading that terminates in a point at the centre front.
These high wedge shaped styles, often terminating in acute points, are typical of the early Art Deco period.
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.
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 surface of the material of beautifully marked with the typical “tortoise” style mottling and is a very faithful imitation of genuine shell. Many of the later 19th century the hair ornaments which appear to be made of tortoise 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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