Art Deco hand tinted figural monkey celluloid hair or hat accessory
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear for age
SIZE: 4 ins h x 2 ins w (10 x 5 cm) decorative part 2½ ins h (6 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s – 1920s
Here is a very unusual Art Deco hair or hat ornament. It is made in hand painted celluloid and depicts two monkeys sitting on a branch. The tails of the creatures hang down and form the tines of the comb. Each corner of the heading has a small hole which would have allowed it to be sewn onto fabric. Therefore this delightful ornament may also have serviced as a hat ornament or “hat flash”.
Monkeys have various symbolism in Art. While in Western art they were traditionally associated with evil spirits and the devil, their meaning is much more positive in oriental art. They are viewed there as brave, intelligent and witty. A more modern view of the monkey is that it represents a freer spirited and fun loving version of oneself which is not tied down by convention.
A “hat flash” is an ornament designed, as the name implies, to add interest and glamour to a hat. They became popular in the Art Deco period of the early 20th centuries. Hat flashes are distinct from hat pins by their design. The usually comprise some kind of decorative element, resembling a brooch or barrette, but with a simple pin on the back by which they pierce the fabric of the hat. Hat flashes could also be used in an ornamental way on garments such as coat lapels or sweaters.
Some hat adornments appear to be a hybrid form between a hair and hat ornament. For example a single or two pronged ornament which can be worn in the hair in the conventional sense. However the shaft or tines may be provided with small holes by which the ornament may be sewn onto a hat or other garment.
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Unusual hat flash or hair accessory with a figural monkey