Category Archives: Meiji Hair Comb

The Hair Comb Market

There are so many beautiful things for sale, each with their own story, that to condense a post into one subject is difficult. So I have a buffet of things today. Just click the picture or link to see more details about each item.

In the Sotheby’s Unsold category:

On 6 December 2002, this Henri Vever gold, enamel, and horn hair comb was estimated at $8,000 to $12,000, but did not sell.

vever

On 13 June 2000, this French gold, enamel, and diamond Eugenie comb, c. 1870, was estimated between 6,000 to 8,000 GBP, but also did not sell.

eugeniecomb

Sotheby’s Upcoming Auction:

Up for auction on 14 November 2014 is this brass Alexander Calder hair pin, c. 1940 (Calder Foundation Archive number: A16974). Estimate $50,000 – $70,000. To me, this comb looks like a female body wired into a frame. The estimate is consistent with the Calder market, and I will be interested to know what it fetches.

calder1

Will it appreciate in value, as did Calder’s silver “Figa” hair comb?

“Figa” in Slavic and Turkish cultures is a hand gesture made to represent male or female sexual organs. The first and second fingers wrap the thumb. It could be used in response to a money request or a plea for physical labor. In Ancient Rome, the gesture was used to ward off evil spirits.

Calder gifted it to artist Frances J. Whitney, c. 1948 (Calder Foundation Archive number: A22629). I could just see her wearing it with a geometrically cut black dress to a charity ball, with no one else knowing what it meant but her. :-)

On 15 November 2006, it was purchased from the Whitney estate for $57,000. On 14 November 2013, that buyer sold it for 137,000.

alexandercaldercomb

At Live Auctioneers, another comb caught my attention. It is Russian, c. 1908-1917, silver, and made by Fabergé work master Anders Michelson (marked AM). The comb has eight tortoiseshell prongs and a beautiful hinge that fits over the entire top. Michelson used niello, a black mixture of copper, silver, and lead sulphides, to inlay the dogs and floral pattern on the tiara. The auction starts on 13 November 2014, and the opening bid is €300.

dogs

Michael Backman Gallery

Michael Backman Ltd. is selling a pair of gold and gilded silver-filigree dragon hair pins from China’s Qianlong Period (1735-1796). They have dragon heads, each of which have a turquoise cabochon. Openwork hair ornaments were known as “tongzan” and were worn from the Ming Dynasty onwards.

chinesedragonhairpins

Also on sale is this comb from the Solomon Islands. It is a faa, or man’s woven comb from the Kwaio People, Malaita, Solomon Islands. Woven from yellow-orchid and coconut-palm-frond fibres, the comb was dyed with the geru root. Its teeth are made of fern wood.

solomonislands

The last lot I am going to feature from Michael Backman is this jaw-dropping collection of 38 Indonesian gold ornaments, c. 800 AD. It is a largest set of gold regalia ever collected for a statue in Central Java, Indonesia. The script on the chest cord translates as “‘The weight of the pailut with the diadem: 2 suvarṇa, 1 māṣa, 2 kupaṅ’”

Indon_Gold-750x475

Some Lovely Things on E-Bay

Never dismiss E-Bay. A Māori Paikea comb with an ivory patina to-die-for was listed by God-Save-Whom for $9.95 with no reserve. The description was “Possibly African.”

There is a There are 6 bids on it, including 2 experienced bidders. It’s real tortoiseshell. As of this printing, there are 3 days and 11 hours to go on this auction.

There is also The seller thinks it’s French. It could be French or Edwardian English because jewelers in both countries made these types of pins. The auction has 4 days to go.

One of our authors, Miriam Slater, is selling this It is rare, it is real, and I’d get my hands on it if I could.

Choosing one amongst many beautiful things is so difficult. Mustn’t we just have them all.

कंघी

To have fun researching more items like these, please consult our Resource Library and these books:


Gold Jewellery of the Indonesian Archipelago

Calder Jewelry

Ethnic Jewellery and Adornment

The Creative Museum Triumphs Again

Every culture has a comb. It can symbolize a ruler’s deification, be a liturgical object for high priests, or an item that pushes the limits of an artistic movement. In Japanese culture, combs were an expression of love. On May 4, The Creative Museum steps into the real world again by contributing items from their…Continue Reading

The Creative Museum World Tour

Another blog wrote about them: Le Blog de Cameline! She tells the story of the family in French. This post will be an English translation, and then I will pick some of my favorite combs from this magnificent collection, so we can enjoy both posts. Cameline says, “The Creative Museum is a virtual museum devoted…Continue Reading

Japanese Kushi Themes

In the Edo and Meiji eras, kushi became canvasses, on which artists could paint or carve cultural and religious symbols. Early Edo kushi had only one simple idea on a large comb-canvas. Late Edo kushi were still bigger than Meiji pieces, but both eras produced square and half-moon shapes. From the Okazaki collection come these…Continue Reading

Creative Museum: Recent Acquisitions

The Creative Museum has acquired four new pieces: This is one of the greatest Auguste Bonaz combs I have ever seen. I don’t even know what to say. For me, when I look at this, I see a mythical griffin with real ruby eyes, as in the English tradition, or a Japanese water-god dragon with…Continue Reading

Edo and Meiji Kogai Sticks

Earlier Meiji kogai sticks were long and flat, with gold maki-e decorations on each edge. Edo kogai sticks were shorter and thicker, carved just at the top. These Meiji tortoiseshell sticks come from The Creative Museum, while the Edo lacquer sticks reside in The Miriam Slater Collection. This extraordinary early Meiji kogai stick belongs to…Continue Reading

Miriam Slater Collection: Ivory Kanzashi

Today, I wanted to celebrate the taste of our author Miriam Slater. Don’t let this piece fool you. “The truth is never pure and rarely simple.” This Meiji kanzashi is a painting within a sculpture. Within the bird perched on a branch, is the stem and flower of a Japanese hibiscus. Notice the stick painted…Continue Reading