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A pretty celluloid faux tortoiseshell hair comb with a silver repousee decorative panel
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 3 ins h x 2½ ins w (7.5 x 6 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s
MATERIALS: celluloid, silver 800 (tested)
Here is a very attractive little hair comb with a most unusual shape. It is making a convincing show of being made from natural shell with very realistic mottling. However I have tested this comb and found that is it made from celluloid faux tortoiseshell. Although it can be moulded under heat genuine shell is very brittle in its solid form with little "give". The tines of this comb are quite bendy, leading me to conclude that it is not natural tortoiseshell.
Still it is a very attractive ornament with a curved heading that has a gently scalloped design. The four integral tines are split down the centre.
A 800 silver metal panel is fitted to the centre of the heading with a repousee panel of a grotesque grinning face.
I am informed by another member that this face represents Batara Kala, demigod of death and darkness.
In Javanese mythology Batara Kala is reputed to have an insatiable appetite to devour humans. Traditionally, Javanese people try to obtain his favor to prevent misfortune, especially to children. Exorcism ceremonies are held for children born under "unlucky" circumstances, such as being born feet-first. This is to prevent such children from being devoured by Batara Kala.
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Gender: Female, Age Group: Adult, Color: brown/silver, Size: 3 ins h x 2½ ins w (7.5 x 6 cm)
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Indonesian hair comb celluloid faux tortoiseshell silver hair accessory
$100 USD SOLD
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