A pretty vintage Chinese silver hair comb with repousee decorative panels
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 4¼ ins w x 2 ins h (10.5 x 5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1900-1920s
MATERIALS: silver (acid tested)
Here is a very pretty silver back comb which was probably produced in China for the Western market.
Many of these Chinese export combs incorporate typical “oriental” motifs such as dragons, lotus flowers or pagodas. However this one has attractive repousee panels which incorporate a bird on a branch (centre) and various floral motifs in the side panels. Each of the panels is different and can be seen in the close up photographs.
The motifs that were selected to embellish Chinese personal ornaments, costume and the fabrics from which they were made reveal a particular symbolistic structure. The motifs that appear on textiles and costumes were identical to those found on ceramics and lacquers. Few were purely decorative; nearly all carried symbolic meaning. Chinese symbolic motifs were invariably representational, depicting things in a convincingly naturalistic way. Few symbols in Chinese art were abstract, although many of the ideas they represented were less than concrete. Symbolic motifs fall into five categories. The largest number were taken from the natural world. Flowers, animals, birds and insects were universally recognizable and were easily related to the environmental concerns of Chinese society.
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