A large and spectacular Art Deco hair comb with iconic fighting parrots design
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 8 ins h x 8 ins w (20 x 20 cm) decorative part 4½ ins w (11 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1920s
Here is a very large and spectacular Spanish style hair comb from the Art Deco period. It was almost certainly made in the USA. These combs with a design of “fighting parrots” are iconic for the period and appear in many different colours and affects. In some versions just one bird is shown always placed against a background of foliage.
In this example the comb mount with four tines is black celluloid. The large fan shape heading has been heat welded on and has a lively design of two large birds done in black on red. This is an example of a technique called celluloid overlay where a contrasting colour is laid on top, and then the upper layer carved through to produce an interesting topographical effect. In this case the upper coat of black shows a line of red around the edges of the design and adds to the dramatic contrast.
Such fan shaped and frequently large Spanish combs became extremely fashionable in Britain and America during the early 20th century. They were worn in a characteristic manner, being placed in the side or back of the hairdressing at an acute angle, and in such a way that the tall heading stood up proud. This enabled the often beautiful openwork decoration or the decorative effect which had been applied to the material, to be viewed from all angles, and for the details to be seen effectively outlined against the light.
The final collage illustration shows examples of similar accessories taken from contemporary illustrations and indicates how they were placed in the fashionable hairstyle.
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Art Deco hair comb fighting parrots design hair accessory