A handsome faux tortoiseshell Spanish style hair accessory
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 7 ins h x 5 ins w (18 x 13 cm) decorative part 4 ins h (10 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s – 1920s
MATERIALS: celluloid faux tortoiseshell
Here is a nicely marked hair comb in celluloid faux tortoiseshell with unusual asymmetric styling. The openwork design shows a suggestion of foliage and is inclined to the right.
This type of ornament is often known as Spanish or mantilla comb because it resembles a smaller version of the traditional large shell ornaments worn by Spanish ladies with their native dress. In practice any comb which has a high upstanding heading or top which stands proud of the top of the head is often called a mantilla comb. Such combs are worn placed high on the head in order to allow the beauty of their ornamental cresting to be admired.
The collage picture shows similar hair ornaments taken from contemporary illustrative sources and the hair styles with which they were worn.
Such frequently large Spanish style 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.
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Art Deco hair comb faux tortoiseshell asymmetric hair ornament