An attractive Art Deco hair comb in black and cream shaped like a fan
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 5 ins h x 4 ins w (13 x 10 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1920s
MATERIALS: celluloid (an early form of plastic)
Here is a classic celluloid faux tortoiseshell hair comb from the Art Deco period made in the iconic “sunray” design. The heading has the shape of an opened fan with the spokes representing the sticks of the fan.
The comb is made in two distinctive layers which is a manufacturing technique called “celluloid overlay”. Here a mottled faux tortoiseshell effect has been overlaid upon a creamy white base which shows at the edges of the design and on the back of the comb. It creates an interesting topographical effect on the front.
The final illustration shows a selection of sitters wearing similar ornaments and is taken from a collection of contemporary sources of the early 20th century.
This type of ornament is often known as Spanish or mantilla comb because it resembles a smaller version of the traditional large tortoiseshell ornaments worn by Spanish ladies with their native dress. In practice any comb which has a high upstanding heading or top is often called a mantilla comb.
Ornaments like this were worn in a characteristic manner, being placed such a way that the tall heading stood up proud. This enabled them to be viewed from all angles and for the details to be seen effectively outlined against the light.
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