An unusual Art Deco bandeau style hair comb in celluloid faux tortoiseshell
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 5½ ins h x 11 ins w around the curve (14 x 28 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s-1920s
Here is a very beautiful bandeau style comb dating from the early 20th century.
It comprises a comb mount in celluloid faux tortoiseshell having a very wide and curved top profile. The heading extends in two wings which wrap around the sides of the head. It is made in an elegant classic design without ornamentation. The surface of the material in this hair ornament is beautifully marked with the typical “tortoise” style mottling and is a very faithful imitation of genuine shell.
This comb is of the type called a bandeau or shingle comb, because in wear it encircles the back of the head rather like a bandeau. It was characteristically worn above a low chignon if the wearer had long hair. This is a design that was popular in the period 1910-25.
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.
During this period, many women had their hair cut short in the extremely short crop called the “shingle”, but later regretted it. These combs were designed to hold the growing wisps of hair at the nape of a lady who had decided to re-grow her hair, where it was not yet long enough to be gathered into a chignon. Sometimes the hair was long enough to roll over at the nape. The wide part of the comb encircled the back of the head, like a bandeau, and kept these short locks tidily in order.
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