An unusual French ivory hair comb with figural Japanese lady
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 5½ ins h x 4 ins w (14 x 10 cm) decorative part 2½ ins h (6 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s – 1920s
MATERIALS: French ivory
Here is an unusual hair comb from the Art Deco period showing an engraved figural representation of a Japanese lady. She is flanked by images of the crane or stork and chrysanthemums.
The comb is made in one piece from cream coloured celluloid and has five tines which are also decorated. The design has been etched into the surface and then in filled with a dark brown pigment to enhance the design. The heading is made in an unusual freeform shape.
Elements from other cultures are often represented in Art Deco design. An important influence was that of Oriental cultures such as those of China and Japan. Often this is shown by an indirect means such as the use of a high gloss surface (imitating lacquer) or by the use of colour (jade green) or motif (bamboo). From time to time we see the overt use of an oriental motif, such as in this figural representation of a Japanese geisha standing amid storks and chrysanthemums.
The crane or tsauru is a sacred bird particularly venerated in Japan and believed to live a thousand years. It symbolises beauty and longevity, also prudence, purity and vigilance. In art it is often associated with the chrysanthemum and the pine (longevity). It is also regarded as a royal bird. The chrysanthemum, as well as being the national flower of Japan, is also the personal emblem of the royal family who enjoy great respect. It implies longevity, ease and serenity amidst splendour, good cheer and spirits.
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Art Deco French ivory hair comb with Japanese lady hair ornament