A collection of three vintage Japanese hair accessories comprising a hair comb and two hair pins
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
APPROXIMATE DATE: early to mid 20th century.
MATERIALS: wood, lacquer, resin, gilding
A collection of three Japanese hair accessories comprising one hair comb and two hair bodkins (kogai)
#1 the comb is the traditional rectangle shape with a curved back. It is decorated in gold lacquer and tiny pieces of mother of pearl inlay and measures 2 ins h x 4 ins w (5 x 10 cm)
#2 the longest kogai is made from amber and black resin with gold metal applications on the detachable end pieces. It measures 6 ¼ ins (16 cm)
#3 the shorter kogai is made of wood covered with gold and black lacquer and is of the solid type without detachable end pieces. It measures 5½ ins (14 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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