Two hair combs with damascene work embellishment from the late Victorian era
CONDITION: the damascene work shows some signs of wear otherwise good vintage condition
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
MATERIALS: faux tortoiseshell, metal
Here are two handsome combs dating from the late 19th or early 20th century. They are both decorated by a metalwork technique known as Damascene which was popular at the time.
#1 round topped comb measures 4 ins h x 1½ ins w (10 x 4 cm)
#2 asymmetric comb measures 4 ins h x 1½ ins w (10 x 4 cm)
Damascene "Damasquinado de Oro or "Damasquino" is the art of decorating non-precious metals with gold. It has roots in the Middle Ages and originates from the oriental-style artisan work done in Damascus, Syria. The craft, perfected by the Arabs and brought with them to Spain, has remained virtually unchanged over the centuries.
Damascene items generally reflect two distinct traditional types of patterns; the Arabesque or geometric designs, and the Renaissance motifs, displaying variations of birds and flowers. These patterns are obtained by engraving deep, patterned cuts into steel and then placing a gold foil into the lines of the design. This foil is hammered until the gold (18/greenish and 24/yellow carat) penetrates into the cuts, forming the design. Each piece is treated with a bluing solution to obtain oxidation and a black background is created. Toledo in Spain is the world's largest centre of production of Damascene.
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Two Victorian hair combs with damasquine embellishment