Category Archives: Edo Hair Comb

Edo Lacquer Masterpiece

From the Miriam Slater Collection, this set features an open-top kushi design filled with gold maki-e leaves, stems, and one mother-of-pearl bud. There is a scroll ornament painted on both sides. The kogai stick has the same scroll theme diagonally carated to separate the same leaf, stem, and bud theme on both ends. Stunning Edo…Continue Reading

The gigantic hair ornaments of oiran, Japan’s courtesans

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…Continue Reading

Miriam Slater: Tortoiseshell Combs

I do not know what to do with myself when I see what artist Miriam Slater has collected. My mind basically goes blank. However, my jaw does recover within the hour. Here are two picks from the tortoiseshell part of her Edo collection. The first wedding set features a tortoise and a crane, symbolizing stability…Continue Reading

Jessica Beauchemin and Miriam Slater

I would like to welcome two new authors to our community blog. An award-winning Canadian modern artist, Jessica Beauchemin creates balanced abstract wood sculptures, which I feel mirror the design sense of Alexander Calder. Our second new author is Miriam Slater. We have had passionate conversations about Japanese hair ornaments for years, and she has…Continue Reading

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…Continue Reading

Edo Water God

18th-Century Edo comb. One idea: A dragon in the clouds. In Japanese mythology, dragons were water gods in charge of rainfall, lakes, rivers, and oceans. The serpentine dragon on this comb was typical — large and wingless, with clawed feet. The artist worked with the tortoiseshell’s natural color gradations, painting the dragon in the exact…Continue Reading