A large and showy two toned Spanish style hair comb from the Art Deco period
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 7 ins h x 6½ ins w (18 x 16 cm) decorative part 4 ins (10 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s – 1920s
MATERIALS: celluloid, rhinestones
This handsome Art Deco period comb has been manufactured in two distinct shades of celluloid. This is a decorative effect known as “celluloid overlay” where one colour is laid over a contrasting one during the production process. Here, a clear foundation has been given an upper coating of glossy black. This creates an interesting two toned topography when the upper coating is cut through to show the lower. Here the effect can be seen most clearly in the radiating lines which ornament the heading. The effect is enhanced by the incorporation of clear rhinestones in the design.
The collage photograph shows illustrations taken from contemporary sources and depicts similar ornaments, showing 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.
This comb is a variety of the iconic design of Art Deco combs whereby “blades” or openwork or solid panels radiate outwards from the base of the heading. This is a very typical motif in Art Deco combs, and in the art of the period. Some people interpret the spokes as representing the wheel, and thus symbolising the Futurist fascination with speed and machinery. This spokes or sunray motif appears in many forms. Sometimes it is abstracted to a series of lines or mere “spokes” which radiate out from the base of the heading.
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