Category Archives: Japanese Hair Comb

Miriam Slater Collection: Kanzashi with people

By Miriam Slater: The designs in most Japanese kanzashi most commonly are drawn from nature, such as animals ( tortoise, cranes and fish), plants (bamboo, flowers and pine trees) or landscapes (harbors, waves and mountains). Much harder to find are kanzashi in which people are depicted. The inclusion of human beings (to me at least)…Continue Reading

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

Miriam Slater Collection: Tortoiseshell Kanzashi

Chrysanthemums are the imperial flower of Japan. They represent friendship, which masks a secret wish for love. Perfection is defined by the unfolding of the flower’s petals. As symmetry is an important principle in Japanese art, kanzashi are usually made in pairs. This pair from The Miriam Slater Collection combines dark and blonde tortoiseshell masterfully.…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

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