A classic Art Deco celluloid hair comb embellished with amber rhinestones
CONDITION: good vintage condition.
SIZE: 7 ins h x 5 ins w (18 x 13 cm) decorative part 3½ ins (8 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s – 1920s
MATERIALS: celluloid, rhinestones
Here is a classic diamond shaped hair comb from the Art Deco period made in clear green and black celluloid.
The 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 addition of amber rhinestones.
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 lines 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.
The collage photograph shows illustrations taken from contemporary sources and depicts similar ornaments and how they were placed in the hair styles of the day.
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