Chinese Combs

I have focused much attention on Japanese artists, but China has a magnificent comb tradition of its own. Chinese artists used feathers from the kingfisher bird, now endangered. On most combs the feathers have worn off. There are a lot of Chinese sellers on ebay now, who advertise kingfisher hair pins. I am not so sure these pins are authentic. How would sellers be able to produce these hairpins in the quantity needed for a business, if the source material were rarely available? “These are mysteries, Straker,” as P.G. Wodehouse would say. However, here is a picture of a genuine kingfisher feather Chinese comb. It is very rare to find one in this condition.

This Chinese hair ornament was made by Tinfook, c. 1890, and was given to the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum by Mrs. Randolph Hearst, Jr. It is made of gold, jade, and pearls.

1 thought on “Chinese Combs

  1. catherine

    Hi Barabaranne … great to find other people who like hair combs. I started collecting them a number of years ago when I lived in Singapore … they were not very expensive then .. I have quite a few of the blue ‘ kingfisher feather’ combs and wondered if there were any books or articles about them. yours Catherine


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