A handsome faux tortoiseshell hair comb in Spanish style with interlaced design
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 6¼ ins h x 4¼ ins w (15.5 x 10.5 cm) decorative part 3 ins h (7.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s – 1920s
This handsome 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 foundation of translucent light brown has been given an upper coating of darker mottled brown. 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 and the tips of the tines.
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 illustrations taken from contemporary sources and depicts similar ornaments, showing how they were placed in the hair styles of the day.
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