Wooden double sided H comb with carved motto “Loose Me Not”
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 3 ins h x 3 ins w (7.5 x 7.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: late 18th – early 19th century
This hair comb was purchased from an extensive private collection of museum quality hair accessories and jewellery and is fresh to the market.
Here is an intriguing comb made from carved wood that is inscribed with the legend “Lose mee not”. It is very roughly and naively made and has obviously been carved out by hand. This is evident from the spacing and formation of the teeth.
This type of comb offers two sets of teeth, one noticeably broader and more widely spaced than the other. This makes it an ideal instrument for grooming both fine and coarser sections of hair. Double sided H shaped combs are typically carved out from one piece of the material, whether wood, bone, ivory or tortoiseshell. The end pieces are typically much thicker than those in the centre. This serves the function of protecting the inner more delicate teeth. It also provides scope for decoration which is typically done on the centre panel and sometimes both sides of the end pieces.
Carved wooden combs of this type were typically given as courtship, engagement of marriage gifts in the past. They are an example of nicely carved antiques that were made to be useful, as well as of sentimental value. Love and commitment gifts developed in pre-industrial communities when craft skills were widespread. Men would typically work with wood. Therefore young men made something wooden that would be of value in a woman’s adult life: for instance, a knitting sheath, mangle board, or distaff. Stay busks and combs were once well-liked betrothal or love gifts. They were almost always carved with some floral design or sentimental motto.
Here the comb says “Do not lose me”. If only it could talk, what a story it would have to tell!
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Carved wooden folk vanity comb with inscription