A handsome celluloid faux tortoiseshell hair comb from the Art Deco period
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 5½ ins h x 5 ins w (14 x 13 cm) decorative part 3 ins h (7.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1920s
Here is a striking Art Deco celluloid faux tortoiseshell hair comb made in the iconic fan shape, in which lines or blades radiate out from the base of the heading. This heading design is typical of many combs of the period, with radiating lines or panels resembling sunrays, or perhaps the spokes of a wheel.
One theory about such designs is that the sun rays emerged from the popular vogue for sunbathing which began at this time. Previously ladies had shunned the idea of sunbathing. Another theory is that the spoke like designs reflected the wheel, and the obsession with speed and technology. This was the age of the car and the plane after all!
The final picture illustrates similar hair accessories from contemporary sources and shows the hair styles with which they were used.
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.
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Art Deco hair comb faux tortoiseshell fan shape hair accessory