Three Japanese hair accessories comprising one comb and two hair bodkins
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
APPROXIMATE DATE: mid to later 20th century
MATERIALS: resin, lacquer, mother of pearl
A collection of Japanese hair accessories comprising one hair comb and two hair bodkins or kogai
#1 A traditional kushi or hair comb of half moon shape with an elaborate floral design executed in gold and silver lacquer with mother or pearl inlay. It is decorated on both sides with one being slightly more elaborate. It measures 2½ ins h x 4 ins w (6 x 10 cm)
#2 A traditional kogai or bodkin type hair pin which comes apart to be inserted through the chignon. It is made from abler resin with a black centre simulating shell and has a design in gold inlay on the end pieces. It measures 6¼ ins l (15.5 cm)
#3 Another similar to #2 measures 6¼ ins l (15.5 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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