Two classic Indonesia Java hair combs in metal and buffalo horn
CONDITION: good vintage condition
APPROXIMATE DATE: The combs were collected in situ 1912 by the Hon. Alexander Harris (1872 - 1927) thence by descent. Harris served as the personal secretary to the Governor of New South Wales, Lord Chelmsford.
MATERIALS: metal, buffalo horn
Here are two of the classic comb types found in Java and usually worn with festival or ceremonial dress.
#1 is carved from domestic water buffalo horn with a metal case and measures 1½ ins h x 4 ins w (4 x 10 cm). It dates from the late 19th or early 20th century. This is a classic type comb of fine caribou horn teeth, housed within a decorative metal framework set with pink paste stones (1 missing). These are usually half moon shaped but this one has a hump backed outline. Such combs were worn above the forehead line by women, placed flat against tied back hair in central Java.
#2 is made entirely of polished brass and measures 3 ins h x 4 ins w (7.5 x 10 cm). It has a curved heading onto which are mounted seven flower motifs in brass filigree. It would probably have been placed in a similar way in the front or side of the hair which was then surmounted by an elaborate wedding crown of the type illustrated in the final illustration.
Large and elaborate headdresses are still part of the traditional dress worn on festive and ceremonial occasions such as weddings in Borneo, Sarawak, Sumatra, Java and other western islands of Indonesia. Elaborate metal headpieces gilded, embossed and engraved or intricately carved combs are worn tiara like on the front or top of the head. Smaller combs are ornaments would be worn to decorate the front of the hair as shown in the final illustration.
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Two classic Java hair combs Indonesian hair accessories
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