Three Japanese hair accessories comprising two combs and one hair bodkin
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
APPROXIMATE DATE: early to mid 20th century
MATERIALS: horn, gold lacquer, resin
A collection of Japanese hair accessories comprising two hair combs and one hair bodkin
#1 A traditional kushi or hair comb of long rectangular shape with a slightly curved back. It is made in amber coloured horn and decorated with random patches of gold lacquer. It measures 1 ins h x 4¼ ins w (2.5 x 10.5 cm)
#2 An horn rectangular comb with wavy teeth and an applied geometric design in black lacquer. It measures 1½ ins h x 3¼ ins w (4 x 8 cm)
#3 A traditional kogai or bodkin type hair pin which comes apart to be inserted through the chignon. It is made from wood covered in gold and black lacquer with a carved scroll design upon the end pieces. It measures 6 ins w (15 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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