Author Archives: BarbaraAnne

Tang Dynasty Hair Comb at the Smithsonian

Recently, the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Institution put 40,000 Asian and American works of art online. This magnificent hair comb is one of them.

tang-dynasty-hair-comb-smithsonian

I felt it was Tang Dynasty, but I also knew that the Xiōngnú, a nomadic Mongol tribe who fought and conquered Chinese peoples to form the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – 220 A.D.), came into contact with Western Cultures. That is when gold met jade, so I was not sure.

However, my friend Kajetan knew this comb and said, “This is a well known late Tang Dynasty comb. Open work is less frequent in Tang metal (gilded silver, or sheet gold) combs and this usually means the comb belongs to the Late Period. Sometimes this comb has been attributed to the Song dynasty (960-1279).”

Book Review: Berber Women of Morocco

Like a nomad gazing at the night sky, a ceiling of stars covered the main room of the 2014 exhibition, Berber Women of Morocco, at the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves St. Laurent in Paris. Each tribe’s jewelry and costume was sumptuously presented. The accompanying book, with pages of orange and indigo-blue, is a tribute…Continue Reading

Indian Combs of Love and Perfume

One day in 1819, an Indian tiger noticed a party of British hunters. They were obviously lost and thirsty, so the tiger led them to a cave where there was water and went on his way. The Western Ghat mountains near Maharashta can be hard to navigate. What the hunters found were the painted caves…Continue Reading

Auctions: Pre-Columbian, Indian, and Islamic Jewelry

On 15 May 2015: African, Oceanic & Pre-Columbian Art: Sotheby’s. Among the jewelry for sale is this large gold frog pendant (800 – 1500 AD) from the Coclé civilization of modern-day Panama. Starting bids: $50,000 to $70,000. 23 April 2015: Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds: Christie’s, London: An 18th Century Armenian gemset and…Continue Reading

Diamond Hair Combs and Tiaras

Tiaras have been an essential part of a woman’s wedding dowry since the Middle Ages. As early as the 1850’s, aristocratic women bought sets of diamond sprays and brooches. Delicately set in platinum and looking like embroidery, these pieces came with different fittings such as a tiara frame, hinge for a tortoiseshell comb, or pin…Continue Reading

Auction News

Sotheby’s In September of 2010, jewelry designer Ann Ziff opened her store on Madison Avenue, Tamsen Z. After specializing in barrettes, she started creating jewelry in all forms. On 6 April 2015, the “Renée Fleming Iris” brooch she made will be auctioned at Sotheby’s, with a starting estimate of $80,000 – $96,000. The flower was…Continue Reading

Auction News: Ivory and Jade Bracelets

I love what age does to round things. Here are some bracelets up for auction. At Christie’s are “two Jade Bracelets from Southeast China, Neolithic Period (3000 BC): Each a tapering, thick-walled ring, one Liangzhu culture, the stone of yellow and russet-brown color; the other of Liangzhu type, the stone of olive color with opaque…Continue Reading

Auctions: Hair Ornaments for Sale

There are some lovely pieces coming up for sale. At Christie’s on 19 March 2015, the Chinese art work in the collection of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth goes on sale. Five pieces are worth noting. This greenish-white Jade Phoenix-form ornament from the Yuan-Ming Dynasty (1279-1644) might have been based on an earlier Song Dynasty example, which…Continue Reading