Monthly Archives: May 2011

Memorial Day

To all the soldiers who have served, returned, were injured, endured being a prisoner of war, went missing, or have given their lives for this country, we thank you. We honor you. May our community give you a simple gift, a comb holder made from barn wood on an American farm, c. 1900. It was used by one of the children you so valiantly protected. We stand and salute you. God Bless America.

Creative Museum: From the Sapio Workshops at Napoli

The Creative Museum recently acquired this Italian hairpin topped in blonde tortoiseshell with Putto, Cupid’s name in the Italian Renaissance. The bottom of the stick is dark shell. The piece was made in the Sapio Workshops in Napoli, c. 1900.

Here is a dragon The Creative Museum already had from the Sapio Workshops.

What this means is that my beloved bird hair stick, which I thought was Chinese, is really Italian and also from the Sapio Workshops in Napoli. My Neopolitan Bird!

There have been more acquisitions by the Creative Museum, so look for further posts! :-)

The gigantic hair ornaments of oiran, Japan’s courtesans

kanzashi orian

Oiran or Japan’s highest ranking courtesans were the grandest and most spectacular women of the “floating world”. The word oiran means “first flower” which poetically indicates their exalted status in society. Like geisha they often had humble beginnings, and many were originally sold into the business as children and were left to work their way up over the years as apprentices. Oiran should not be confused with geisha whose dress was more subtle and simple. Oiran, known for their beauty, artistry and intelligence, dictated the fashions of the day and influenced many artists, poets and musicians. They are part of Japan’s cultural legacy and the famous oiran parade called the “oiran-dochu” is still re-enacted in Japan today. ¬†An oiran’s costume consists of many layers of thick padded kimonos along with a large ornate brocade obi tied in the front as was required in her profession. (Kimonos traditionally are tied in the back). She wore towering black lacquer geta which caused her to require assistance to walk. Her hair was arranged in an elaborate hair style with large hair ornaments artfully placed, displaying her rank and status. Objects worn by the oiran are hard to find these days, but I was lucky enough to obtain some of these tortoise pieces as well as this amazing pair of black lacquer shoes from the early 1900’s. One can only imagine the stories these pieces have to tell!

Frida Kahlo

In 1946, Frida gave this miniature self-portrait to her lover Jose Bartoli, signing it “Para Bartoli con amor.” However, scholars believe she painted it in 1938. Young and serene, the poppies in her hair are her heart, her blood, her soul, and her intimate femininity. The portrait measures 2″ by 1 5/8″ and has an estimated value of $1.2 million. Sothebys will sell it on May 25th.

Prices are rising for African combs

On September 15, 2009, a comb from the Ivory Coast made from Hippopotamus bone sold for $1200 at Sotheby’s. It featured a bird on top of a woman’s head, a symbol of fertility.

Last Friday, May 13, another comb of the same design and material sold for $4062.

Sotheby’s also tried to sell this comb with an estimated price in the thousands, however, it did not sell.

The Creative Museum has a similar comb in perfect condition.

Comb Photography: Elkington & Co Electroplate Barrette

This art nouveau barrette was made by the company who pioneered electroplating silver onto copper in 1840s Birmingham England. E&C marks are on the back. This art nouveau barrette was made c. 1900. Two women’s faces, one sad, one happy, metamorphosize out of grape vines, and are separated by a fleur de lis figure. In a beautiful triangular shape, I photographed it on gradations of grey.

French Turquoise, Silver, and Pearl comb

The French had a style of tiara comb with a silver base encasing turquoise beads and small pearls. They are small, but intricately beautiful. c. 1880. Each row of stones has a differently shaped setting. Here is mine. If you have one of these, send me a picture, and we can compare notes. I hope to have my server back Tuesday, at the latest Wednesday. Until then, I’m uploading pics to WordPress because I’m on this *must practice photography* binge. :-)

I am adding two photographs to this post. The French turquoise combs of the Creative Museum. The first one is a silver and turquoise tiara hinged onto a tortoiseshell comb, most unusual.