Three Japanese hair accessories comprising one comb and two hair bodkins
CONDITION: There is some wear to the gold inlay on the end of one pin.
APPROXIMATE DATE: mid to later 20th century
MATERIALS: amber resin, gold and silver inlay, mother of pearl
A collection of three Japanese hair accessories comprising one hair comb and two hair bodkins
#1 A traditional kushi or hair comb of half moon shape with an elaborate inlaid design which differs on each side, although one side is more richly done. The floral design is in gold and silver inlay with small pieces of mother of pearl. It measures 2¼ ins h x 3½ ins w (6 x 9 cm)
#2 A traditional kogai or bodkin type hair pin which comes apart to be inserted through the chignon. It is made in amber resin with a dark centre piece to imitate natural shell. The end pieces are decorated with gold lacquer. It measures 6½ ins w (16 cm)
#3 Another similar to #2 which measures 6½ ins w (16 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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