Monthly Archives: February 2011

Tokugawa Shogunate Tortoiseshell Wedding Set

I have never seen a real tortoiseshell Japanese wedding set for sale. This one is not only the real thing, it comes in its original box, which has a family crest of three ivy leaves. This symbol was used on samurai flags and became popular after the 8th shogun of the Tokugawa family, who ruled the Edo era. Their trade policies isolated Japan and its art from the world. Earlier Tokugawa family crests used maple leaves. I am sure the price on this is high, but if you can afford it, I’d call this a buy. In this post I am including another hair comb with the maple-leaf logo of the Shogunate, which also sold on Trocadero.

To compare the logo on the box to the family crest on a hair comb:

Blessed be the Genius…

Lalique’s cattleya orchid is made of ivory, gold, enamel, horn, and diamonds, c. 1903-1904, and resides in the Cleveland Museum of Art. However, the view we usually see of it does not reveal its secret: what René was really thinking when he made it. Last night, I found the truth. Blessed be the genius who loves a woman’s body with his flowers.

Les Peignes Art Nouveau

Par le Musée Creative

L’Art nouveau est un mouvement artistique qui naît en Europe à la fin du XIXe siècle et rencontre un succès immédiat. Il se développe même internationalement et prend des noms différents selon les pays qui l’adoptent: Tiffany aux Etats-Unis, Skonvirke au Danemark, Stile Liberty en Italie, etc…Le terme français « Art nouveau » s’est imposé en France et même en Grande-Bretagne.

Ce style s’appuie essentiellement sur l’esthétique des lignes courbes. Ses thèmes de prédilection sont la nature, la femme et la mythologie. De grands artistes comme René Lalique ou Lucien Gaillard ont créé des ornements de coiffures somptueux, très recherchés aujourd’hui. Plus modestement, de nombreux artisans français se sont inspirés de leurs créations et ont façonné des peignes ou des épingles au design très poétique. L’ornement de coiffure Art Nouveau français est le plus souvent en corne claire que l’on peint pour imiter la nature. Il est parfois embelli de pierres, de perles ou de métal précieux comme l’or ou l’argent.

Creative Museum possède une collection exceptionnelle d’ornements de coiffure Art Nouveau. Pour ceux qui veulent en savoir plus, ne manquez pas en septembre prochain, notre prochaine exposition qui sera entièrement consacrée à ce style. Voici quelques pièces à admirer en avant-première.

(You may read the English translation in the first comment.)

French painted horn comb with a cicada

French horn comb, ginko pattern. Silver, rhinestones, green cabochon

French horn comb with silver female profile

French hair slide, painted horn, flower design


Chinese Comb of Gods

By The Creative Museum:

This impressive ivory comb features the eight Chinese Gods from the Dao Temple, home of Taoism. The artist portrayed the immortals crossing the sea. Respectively, they represent incarnations of the Chinese people: male, female, old, young, rich, noble, poor, and humble. Zhang Guolao’s drum can augur life. Lu Dongbin’s sword can subdue evil. Han Xingzi’s flute can cause growth. He Xiangu’s Water Lily can cultivate people through meditation. Tie Guaili’s gourd can help the needy and relieve the distressed. Zhong Liquan’s fan can bring the dead back to life. Cao Guojiu’s jade board can purify the environment. Lan Caihe’s basket of flowers can communicate with gods. All of this wisdom was carved into a comb made for export to the Victorian market, c. 1890.

The Innovation of Josephine

As Napoleon’s passionate love, Josephine, kneels before him at his coronation, she introduced two enduring jewelry designs: a woman’s laurel-leaf tiara and a comb with round stones on a stem, forever to be known as the Peigne Josephine. She is wearing the comb in the middle of her head to secure a braid. Napoleon’s laurel-leaf crown imitated Ceasar’s. But Jacques Louis David’s landmark 1804 painting allows us to contemplate Josephine as one of the great jewelry innovators of her time.

Some Early Edo Masterpieces

The Tokugawa Shogunate ruled Japan from 1637 to 1867. They closed the country to foreigners, and Japanese decorative arts remained a mystery to the Western World. Although porcelain continued to be exported, Japan did not come out of seclusion until the Meiji Era began in 1868. In the Paris Exposition of 1872, Western artists first saw early Edo combs. Japonisme began. Here are three early Edo masterpieces Paris artists might have seen. The style and shape of these combs gives the artist a large canvas, on which they paint one idea.

I believe this is a painted tortoiseshell comb of a tree branch extending over a lake. Insects are flying about. Where the artist reveals the tortoiseshell adds shadows to the insects. The fish painted on the tines represent the fish underneath the lake. Look at the shading blend from top to bottom. This is a masterpiece.

Edo artists painted on glass, too.