Two vintage Japanese kushi or hair comb with gold floral lacquer decoration
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
MATERIALS: wood, lacquer
Here are two traditional Japanese hair combs covered in gold lacquer on a wooden foundation. Both are made in the customary shape of a long rectangle with a curved back.
#1 comb with swirled design measures 1½ x 3 ins (4 x 7.5 cm)
#2 comb with floral design measures 1½ x 3 ins (4 x 7.5 cm)
The collage photograph shows illustrations taken from contemporary sources and depicts similar ornaments, showing how they were placed in the traditional Japanese hair style.
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.