A beautiful Japanese kanzashi style hair pin in gold tone metal with figural birds
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 2½ ins w x 6¼ ins h (6 x 16 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1970s – 1980s
MATERIALS: metal, rhinestones
Here is a beautiful vintage Japanese hairpin 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 ornament was 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.
It is made of gold coloured metal and the ornamental heading takes the form of a floral spray with leaves and flowers. Each flower is made from gold tone metal and has a clear rhinestone set into the centre. This lovely hairpin set was built up in a three dimensional manner as shown in the illustrations. Each hairpin has a figural bird representing a stork or crane.
Pendant from the headings of this delightful ornament are gold tone metal chains each terminating in a faux pearl bead. They 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.
The crane is a sacred bird particularly venerated in Japan and believed to live a thousand years. It symbolises beauty and longevity, also prudence, purity and vigilance. In art it is often associated with the chrysanthemum (kiku) and the pine (longevity). It is also regarded as a royal bird.
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