Three Japanese hair accessories comprising two hair combs and one hair bodkin
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
APPROXIMATE DATE: early to mid 20th century
MATERIALS: wood, lacquer, mother or pearl inlay
A collection of three Japanese hair accessories comprising two hair combs and one hair bodkin
#1 A traditional kushi or hair comb of rectangular shape with a curved back. It is made from wood covered with gold lacquer in which are inlayed tiny pieces of mother of pearl to form a floral design. It measures 1¼ ins h x 3¼ ins w (3 x 8 cm)
#2 A traditional kushi of half moon shape made from wood covered with gold lacquer. It measures 1 ins h x 3 ins w (2.5 x 7.5 cm)
#3 A traditional kogai or bodkin type hair pin which comes apart to be inserted through the chignon. It is made from wood decorated with gold and black lacquer and is signed by the artist on the shaft. It measures 5 ins w (13 cm)
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. Such ornaments represent a link with traditional forms in Japanese hair accessories which have been used for many hundreds of years before Western styles began to supplant traditional forms.
Some 400 years ago, Japan took the simple comb and transformed it into an elegant beauty accessory that became a work of art. Japanese kushi (combs) and Kanzashi (hairpins) became expressions of a woman’s character, social class and marital status. Until the beginning of the modern era, decorative combs and hairpins called Kanzashi have been an important part of Japanese fashion. The elaborate hairstyles (mage), of the Edo period required a tremendous amount of time and money to maintain, and the value of what a woman wore in her hair often far exceeded even the cost of the beautiful silken, gold brocade kimono she wore on her back.
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