A handsome Japanese hair comb with matching hair pin in decorative gold lacquer
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
APPROXIMATE DATE: mid 20th century
MATERIALS: wood, gilding
#1 A traditional kushi or hair comb of half moon shape. It is made from wood covered with gold lacquer in which are inlayed tiny pieces of mother of pearl to form a floral design. Measures 1½ ins h x 3½ ins w (4 x 9 cm)
#2 A matching traditional kogai or bodkin type hair pin which comes apart to be inserted through the chignon. It is made from wood decorated with gold lacquer and measures 6 ins l (15 cm)
The collage picture includes examples taken from contemporary sources and shows similar items and the fashionable hair dressing of the day.
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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