A beautiful matched pair of Japanese kanzashi style enamel hair pins
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 1½ ins w x 6 ins h (4 x 15 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1970s – 1980s
MATERIALS: metal, enamel, rhinestones
Here is a beautiful vintage Japanese hairpin set of the type called “kanzashi.” This is a kind of umbrella term used for a number of different types of hair accessory which are distinct from combs or “kushi”. Typically kanzashi have a long shaft with some kind of ornamental heading.
The ornaments were originally part of a bridal set which would have included another two hairpins similar in design, as well as other ornaments. They were usually stuck into the coiffure in such a way that the ornamental heading stood out proud from the hairdressing by several inches.
They are made of gold coloured metal and the ornamental headings take the form of a floral spray with leaves and flowers. The flowers are executed in blue and red enamel, with green enamel leaves intermixed. Each flower has a clear rhinestone set into the centre. Pendant from the headings of these delightful ornaments are gold tone metal ornaments which are designed to sway and tremble when the wearer moves. Traditionally such ornaments are known as “birra birra” from the noise which the tiny metal pendants make when the air passes through them.
The collage picture shows an apprentice geisha who is wearing a full set of ornaments of a similar character in her traditional coiffure.
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