Matched pair of faux tortoiseshell Art Deco sunray style hair slides
CONDITION: good vintage condition with acceptable wear
SIZE: 4½ ins h x 3½ ins w (11 x 9 cm) decorative part 2½ ins h (6 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1920s
MATERIALS: celluloid faux tortoiseshell
Here is a matched pair of the iconic sunray styled hair combs in celluloid faux tortoiseshell. In this design 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!
This type of ornament is often known as Spanish or mantilla comb because it resembles a smaller version of the traditional large ornaments worn by Spanish ladies with their native dress. Any comb which has a high upstanding heading or top which stands proud of the top of the head is often called a mantilla comb. Such combs are worn placed high on the head in order to allow the beauty of their ornamental cresting to be admired.
Such 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. The final picture which is taken from contemporary fashion magazines shows further examples of such ornaments.
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Art Deco hair combs matched pair faux tortoiseshell hair accessories