A set of vintage Japanese wooden instruments used for dressing the hair
CONDITION: good vintage condition with accepted wear
APPROXIMATE DATE: mid 20th century
Here is a set of vintage “tsuge” or boxwood accessories which were used in dressing the traditional Japanese coiffure.
#1 rectangular comb measures 1 ¼ x 5 ¼ ins (3 x 13 cm)
#2 asymmetric long comb measures 8 x 2 ins (20 x 5 cm)
#3 long comb with small teeth measures 8 x 1 ins (10 x 2.5 cm)
#4 long handled comb measures 5 x 2 ins (13 x 5 cm)
The elaborate hairstyles (mage), of the Edo period required a tremendous amount of time and money to maintain, and the value of what a woman wore in her hair often far exceeded even the cost of the beautiful silken, gold brocade kimono she wore on her back. Hair was so important that it came to symbolize nearly every facet of her existence. Looking at a woman’s hairstyle, you could tell what social class she belonged to, whether she was married or not, her age, and whether she had any children.
It took hours for a female hairdresser to set the hair into the elaborate “nihongami” style. The collage illustration shows extracts from several Japanese prints which show in detail this process of dressing the hair. We can see that the female hairdresser often placed the long handled combs in her hair like a hairpin, so that they would be near at hand when needed.
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Four vintage Japanese boxwood hair dressing combs traditional vanity combs