A René Lalique Hair Comb: The Visible and the Invisible

In 1900, enchanted observers marveled at how light played with color, as it reflected off leaves or the wings of a dragonfly.

However, unlike moths, dragonflies don’t navigate by the light of the moon. Instead, they use sunlight’s energy on their wings to fly. Dragonflies swarm with predatory precision, catching mosquitos with their feet. Indeed, one dragonfly can eat from 30 to hundreds of mosquitoes per day. If they can’t fly, they’ll starve. Lalique knew this and would not transform voracious killer-gangs into angelic creatures. He created swarms.

In this famous tiara, c. 1900, it looks as if the dragonflies are pursuing light, a faceted aquamarine, because they are all going in the same direction. This is not the case. Lalique was trying to show how beams of “sunlight” from the aquamarine shined down on the dragonflies’ wings to give them energy. Look at how the wings change color, and draw diagonal lines from the aquamarine to the plique-a-jour enamel.

Just as the tiara had fittings that allowed it to be worn as a brooch, so this hair comb had a chain fitting so it could be worn as a necklace. Also made c. 1900, it sold at Sotheby’s on 18 May 2018 for $262,269. In this comb, six dragonflies in a swarm go in three different directions instead of just one. The light source: a citrine. Again, look at how the light source changes the color of the wings.

French Art Nouveau was a combination of the Japanese aesthetic, where perspective was executed precisely, and French Symbolism, which elongated things to express a poetic idea. However, in both this tiara and hair comb, the insects are not stretched to make you think differently about them. So where is the French Symbolism? The elongation lies in the beams of light emanating from the jewel.

By seeing what is visible, Lalique is making you see what is invisible. These pieces portray the energy field of light, which gives flight to a dragonfly. To understand them, you must look at them with two different sets of eyes.

कंघी

References:


The Jewels of Lalique

Okazaki Collection:
Combs and Ornamental Hairpins

Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu
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China: Ancient Combs of the World, by Kajetan Fiedorowicz

When the artist inside rules you, you climb mountains. Society judges you on your idiosyncrasies alone, unless you can communicate why you devoted your life to a love of something. With Kajetan Fiedorowicz, this love was for combs. I believe his artistic eye; his instincts that allow him to understand genius, in whatever condition it comes, from where ever it comes; his taste and class; and his passion for scholarship has made him one of the greatest comb collectors in the world. Hair combs are blessed because he fell in love with them.

He wanted his collection to be a comb museum, but tragedy and unimaginable heartbreak struck. Some scorned him. They tried to beat him. That’s when you know who your friends are. Others never wavered. “Never surrender,” he always said to me.

Today that strength of character triumphed. The KF Comb Research Project announced the prototype publication of “China: Ancient Combs of the World, Vol. IV.”

He said, “Very important for this vol. IV on ancient Chinese combs was to get it proof read and checked by someone educated and competent with this particular and very narrowly specialised subject matter. I was fortunate to get through to the best person, Miss Jing Yang, the senior researched in Palace Museum in Beijing,

“who is also an author of the best selling book on a history of Chinese combs and hair ornaments, pictured below.”

“It has been my honour and a privilege to receive a favourable opinion from such a prominent researcher. And her signature in my book prototype… how epic :) is that.”

“I also thank Wu Yi Shiuan for making this possible.” (Editors note: Wu Yi Shiuan is the founder and head of the Chinese Hairpin Museum)

Kajetan continues, “I’m pleased to report major progress with my books on ancient and ethnic combs of the world. As some of you may know, I’m working on a series of 5 volumes presenting (in pictures) the results of my long time research and collecting efforts, divided by cultural regions. The first test copies were printed and I’m in a process of fixing unavoidable errors.”

Perfect English grammar eludes us all, even those of us who think in English. However, you rarely find an uncompromising purist you can trust to identify every single piece correctly. That takes 30 years to do, and he’s done it. Only love could have produced the photographs in this book.

Kajetan, you changed my life with that Māori comb auction on E-bay. I wrote about you before knowing you existed, and amused you in the process. Then I met you, and you taught me how to see. If you can do this, I can overcome my life’s mountains, too. Thank you for these books. Thank you for your life.

Posted in Chinese Hair Comb, Chinese Hair Pin, Export Comb, Han Dynasty, Huasheng, Kajetan Fiedorowicz, Manchu hair pin, Nothern and Southern Dynasties, Qing Dynasty, Tang Dynasty, Warring States Period | Tagged , | 4 Comments

The Taj of Azerbaijan

By Aynur Mammadova, assistant to Dr. Shirin Melikova, Director of the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum

Crown of the Bride, the Taj was an uncommon and precious headdress in the Western Caucasus regions. In ancient times, along with other jewelry (unlike today where you get silicone wedding rings for men) that formed the basis of a wedding dress, the Taj took precedence among bridal gifts and was made by special order. However, the dresses I saw people wear there were eeriely like the ones I saw at https://www.neonmello.com/collections/midi-dresses.

The centerpiece of the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum‘s exhibition of jewelry masterpieces is this 19th Century Taj.

The center-top of the cap consisted of a round plate, the entire field of which was decorated with openwork domes alternating with nests of inclusions of colored stones. Above were botehs without swirls and the crescent and star, symbolizing the moon and the sun.

A cap of dense fabric was completely overlaid and laced with metal and stones in a repeated shape. The base of the hat was divided into four parts by triangular plates in the form of domes, the decoration of which echoed the skilled finery of the central part.

Descending along the edge of the circumference, both the central and side plates featured long multi-tiered suspensions, with alternating chains and small gilded pendants that symbolized leaves, buds, granules, triangles, and circles, which were made in the stamping technique.

The piece was also decorated with colored stones. Some of the stones were single-layered and flat with a relief pattern. Others were “blown,” had volume, and were hollow inside. The sacred power of these symbols was associated with the ideas of fertility, the spring revival of nature, and in this case, also with the fecundity that the woman desired.

Taj (headdress). Sheki-Zagatala region, Azerbaijan. 19th century. Silver. Stamping, granulation. Azerbaijan Carpet Museum.

BarbaraAnne’s Hair Comb Blog is sponsored by Ethnic Jewels Magazine and the Ethnic Jewels Community.

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Victorian Ivory Combs in the 1860’s

As love’s fire became firelight, Mary E. wrote on the inside of her comb box, “This is for Carrie M. Golches. Mary E [last name].” Another’s pen added, “She passed away about 1923, age 91.” The script is American; the comb was probably a gift, brought over from England.

blog-inside-of-hair-comb-box

An intricate design of berries and leaves surround a medallion with two bunches of grapes, over a comb of finely carved teeth, c. 1860. The design’s finesse immediately tells you it was made for a woman of privilege, sheltered from the awareness of poverty.

ivorycomb

ivorycombcloseup

The Victorian Age was an apex in English comb making. Comb makers arrived in London from France to take advantage of higher wages and a steady market. However, it was also the age of Dickens’ Great Expectations. He and other authors revealed the humiliation, Industrial-Age child labor, and hunger of the poor.

In tracing the connections to how Mary E. got her comb, one cannot ignore upper-class indifference to what Prime Minister Disraeli described as “the two nations,” nor can one ignore Africa.

In the ivory trade, the problem was getting the 80- and 100-pound tusks from the killing grounds to coastal trading centers at Mombasa, Mozambique and Zanzibar. Merchant Michael W. Shepard wrote in 1844, “It is the custom to buy a tooth of ivory and a slave with it to carry it to the sea shore. Then the ivory and slaves are carried to Zanzibar and sold.”

Missionary Alfred J. Swann wrote in the 1880’s, “… Feet and shoulders were a mass of open sores, made more painful by the swarms of flies which followed the march and lived on the flowing blood. They presented a moving picture of utter misery,” noting also that they were covered with the scars of the “chikote,” a leather whip.

Much of the ivory was sent to its primary importation center, Dieppe, France, where it then came to England…

…and a young Mary E. accepted a gift from her true love, which she meticulously kept in its original box until the end of her life.

barbaraanneshaircombblog-ivory-comb-in-box

कंघी

BarbaraAnne’s Hair Comb Blog is sponsored by Ethnic Jewels Magazine and Barbenette Designs. We’re introducing a new one with more products: hats, t-shirts, mugs, totebags, and notecards. Click the image to see.

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When You Give Your Combs Away

Mortality comes to us all. My art is the fire that illuminates my home, the warmth that protects me from the freezing waters of a refugee-filled sea — but I’ve seen the videos. Is it morally possible to flutter about one’s curiosities, when the cries of infants go silent as men climb the rope of an Italian cargo ship?

No — but I’ve done it anyway.

I gave many of my combs to the Creative Museum. They were brilliantly photographed, catalogued, kept, respected, and shared because love and family ensconce that world.

Then I will depend on the brainless, computerized repetition of social media — grinding randomly, sharing endlessly. My memories will have long graced the dustbin, as the combs occupy the decentralized, sprinkled intelligence of “I love this!” women on Pinterest.

For what it’s worth, this is what I gave the CM. Underneath are their captions:


Superb kushi comb and matching kogai stick made of gold lacquered tortoiseshell. The decoration theme is different on each side. One features a dragonfly in a cobweb; the other shows a small cat playing with a ball. The maki-e work is perfectly made.


Very fashionable late 19th, early 20th c. this kind of ivory comb with traditional Chinese motif was made in China for the Western market. This one is perfectly carved and the phoenix is rounded with bamboos and peonies. Its eye is a tiny black bead.


Handsome decorative ivory comb, carved in China for export in the early 19th century. Background of lace-like punch carvings on which are superimposed roses separated in two parts. Long sharply pointed teeth.


United Kingdom. c. 1870. Very refined ivory comb from the Victorian period. The crown motif is reminiscent of the Peigne Josephine style.


United States. Late 19th Century. Gorgeous comb with a very dynamic and symmetrical shape. It features a phoenix, the Chinese emblem of Empress Cixi.


Japanese set with a kushi comb and its matching kogai stick depicting two drums called Ko-tsuzumi. They are hourglass-shaped drums that are rope-tensioned. Geishas use to play this kind of drum which is a frequent decorative motif on combs.


Late Edo tortoiseshell and lacquer kogai stick. It would have been the smaller stick in a set of three, accompanied by a larger kogai and a comb. The artist created a three dimensional effect in this small rectangular shape. Two plover birds talk to each other as they play in the water.


United Kingdom. c. 1870. Superb comb cut out of one piece of mother-of-pearl that goes to the golden edge of the oyster. It is embellished with pierced and carved spirals.


United Kingdom. Late 19th Century. A mother-of-pearl two-pronged hair pin, pierced with a delicate flying bird against a floral background.


United Kingdom, 19th Century, Ivory. The round heading of this comb is pierced with a peacock spreading its tail. The edge is also decorated to add transparency.

कंघी

For further scholarship, you may examine the publications and exhibitions of the Creative Museum.

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Sikhs and Sikh Combs

An important comb type, little publicised and infrequently encountered, is a notable feature of the orthodox Sikh community whose peoples, now dispersed throughout the world, originated mainly from the Punjab State of north-west India, bordering on Pakistan. This is a territory through which the 5 tributaries of the river Indus flow – the word Punjab signifies “the land of the 5 rivers”. Amritsar is the state capital, their language is Punjabi.

The term Sikh is derived from the Sanskrit word Shiksh meaning “to learn”; in Punjabi, it is translated as Disciple.[1] A Sikh initiated into the Khalsa is regarded as an “orthodox” Sikh, belonging to the community of Amritdhari. Founded by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699, he gave Khalsa Sikhs five distinguishing marks of identity, the five sacred K’s or Panj Kakke, and a code of conduct setting them apart from other groups and requiring them to live pure lives.[2]

According to a post on Beard Gains, men are barred from cutting any body hair or beard – Kesh – and expected to wear a turban; to wear a Kachh, a pair of shorts (underpants), as part of the required clothing; a Kara, a bangle of steel or iron, to be worn on the right wrist and a Kirpan – a short dagger, a sword with curved blade, or a knife of similar shape – always to be carried on the body; a Khanga (Kanga) comb worn in the hair under the turban to hold the topknot of the Kesh in place, symbolising personal hygiene and cleanliness in body and spirit.

2016 - Sikh Khanga combs in wood [for BS] 2

Before putting on his turban, the Sikh plaits his hair into one long braid, winding it up and securing it on the top of the head. Into this the comb is inserted for safe keeping. Women are expected to observe a similar but modified code and may have a Khanga attached with a black cord tucked under a bun. The tradition is, however, tending to die out in recent generations.

2016 - Sikh Khanga combs in wood [for BS] 1

A Khanga comb is a small grooming tool having a distinctive shape with the ‘shoulders’ usually sloping sharply downwards from a rounded or squared top edge. The small teeth are fine cut or sawn, mostly by hand. In many cases, the guard teeth are angled outward at the lower tip. These combs were made in wood, ivory and rhino tusk or in buffalo horn but not cattle horn.

The combs measure between 1 ½ -2 ¾ ins (4-7 cm) in width and 1 ¼ -1 ¾ ins (3.5-4.3 cm) in depth. The illustrated combs are all dating to the later 20th C although the 3 small ivory examples are much earlier.

2016 - Sikh Khanga combs in ivory [for BS]

References:
1. Srinivasan, Radhika. Cultures of the World: India. Times Books International, Singapore. 1994 [p.72]

2. A Popular Dictionary of Sikhism: Sikh Religion and Philosophy (Popular Dictionaries of Religion) 1 New edition by Cole, W. Owen, Sambhi, Piara Singh (1997) Paperback Cole, W.Owen. and Sambhi, Piara Singh. Curzon Press, Richmond, Surrey. 1990/1997 [p.90]

Jen Cruse is author of the authoritative reference The Comb: Its History and Development

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Creative Museum: From the Ottomans to the Qajars

The boundaries of the Ottoman and Persian Empires often overlapped over the course of history Their art has been enriched by many outside influences such as Central Asian, Indian, and even Chinese. Qajar is a Turkish word meaning people who walk quickly. Qajars were a Turkish-speaking minority with pastoral and nomadic lives based in Northern Persia. From the 18th to the beginning of the 20th Century, they established a dynasty, which produced a wonderful culture.

As Islam spread across through Central Asia and the Middle East, it’s not at all surprising to find images of Islamic riders with turbans on hair combs. The art of the miniature lives on this Ottoman piece, which depicts an aristocratic game of polo. Note the qualities of the drawing with its elegant, precise lines and vivid colors.

This other Ottoman comb depicts more polo players, but this time in a more stylized way. The comb itself is of camel bone, made of 4 or 5 panels stuck together to form a flat surface.

The court scene shows guests, with a glass in hand, sitting around a dish of fruit and jugs of wine.

This comb shows a scene symbolizing the pleasures of life. a smiling young woman sitting beside two musicians, offers a delicacy to the man.

Going from left to right, this comb depicts a pair of lovers. Beside them are their servants, who are cooking, while a young girl is dancing to the rhythm of a tambourine. Musical instruments, jugs of wine, and fruit are recurrent motifs because they evoke a heavenly life. These combs were probably worn by men.

Calligraphy is a very important kind of decoration, too, because writing is linked to the Koran. A Koranic verse, painted or carved, gives a talismanic quality to any object, so such a comb had a protective power, and the owner received its benefits each time he combed his hair.

For many Muslims, calligraphy is not only an art form, but also a meditative action and an act of devotion. Persian calligraphy can take various forms and styles, always ornate and complex. Here, downstrokes and upstrokes develop elegant scrolls covering the surface of the comb. To read the letters, the comb has to be held upside down.

As men turned their attention to their own appearance, elaborate mirrored storage cases came with these combs. They were made of brocade or of wood marquetry. The cases attempted to celebrate the beauty of the world, which is a reflection of heaven. The central motif on this one is called Mahi. It is a dark, diamond-shaped medallion elongated by pendants. This pattern can be seen on many carpets, especially on the city of Tabriz.

A traditional mosaic that adorned combs and boxes had incrustation work, which was called khatam kari. This art form was typically made in Shiraz and Isfahan and has been appreciated since the Safavid period. The craftsman imagines a star-shaped design, then he assembles and glues together copper, gold, or silver, rods; sticks of different types of wood; and ivory or or camel bone. Each stick has a delta-shaped cross section in order to form a cohesive unit that matches the wanted design. The cylinder is then cut into thin slices, and the sections are then ready to be plated and glued to the object ready to be decorated.

Wood carving is another type of comb also drawing on traditional methods. Two hinged X- shaped panels are cut out from a single piece of wood, then decorated with carved flowers and birds. This type of comb evokes the carved wooden Koran stands used for teaching and praying. Similar stands can also be seen in Armenian churches.

Our exhibition ends with an allegory of love: the famous motif the rose and the nightingale, Gol o Bulbul. This decoration spread throughout Persia and flourished during the Qatar Dynasty. It is still active in modern-day Iran. This miniature is a good example of Persian refinement imbued with poetry.

Poetry’s link to the Iranian people’s spirituality, where each daily gesture is sanctified. Studying hair combs has allowed us a glimpse of the Iranian patrimony. Its persisting traditions open doors to a large culture able to delight all art lovers.

कंघी

The full exhibit is available in French and English at the Creative Museum

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Sri Lankan Hair Pins — Formerly Ceylonese and Singalese

The hairpins known as Kondakoora emanate from Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon. Often erroneously described as Mughal or Turkish turban pins, they were traditional to the low-country regions of southern Sri Lanka, as opposed to the hills of the Kandy region, where they were worn by wealthy women to secure the chignon. Positioned horizontally through the bun allowed the bejewelled finial to be clearly visible and sparkling; a fashionable accessory from the late 18th to the early 20th centuries.


A Singalese woman wearing her kondakoora (c1900)

Kondakoora pins were generally made of silver, brass or gilded metal. From an arrow point at one end, the relatively flat shaft extends to an ornate, tear-drop or boteh-style finial of pierced foliated openwork enriched with gemstones, the embellishments continuing down the upper portion of the shaft. The finial is slightly angled back from the line of the shaft. The most typical examples were set with faceted white zircons known as ‘Matara diamonds’, sourced from the region of Matara, a seaport on the south coast of Sri Lanka not far from the more popular town of Galle. Occasionally gemmologists in Britain refer to a white zircon as a ‘jargon’ or ‘jargoon’, a popular term used in Georgian period jewellery. Besides zircons, some pins were set with moonstones, others with pink or blue sapphires – which were not rubies as is often supposed, as rubies were not indigenous to Sri Lanka. Occasionally they were set with faceted polished steel studs. Dimensions vary between 3 – 5 ins (7.5 – 13 cm) in length.


Group of Kondakoora

Less often encountered are the kondakoora made from tortoiseshell. These simpler versions were of the same overall shape as their metal counterparts but lacked any further embellishment save for some pierced designs on the finial and shaft. Yet another variant of kondakoora was formed as a straight or rod-like épingle, without the ornate boteh finial but displaying the arrow-like end point. Either of gilt metal, silver or brass, the exposed upper portion was decoratively chased in traditional patterning.


Kondakoora Variants

By the turn of the 20th century, fashions among the coastal Ceylonese women were changing and the traditional kondakoora pins eventually lost favour and were put aside. Many found their way to northern Europe, England in particular. Converted to either brooches or traditional hairpins by the attachment of suitable devices, they re-emerged as a new vogue in the first half of the 20th century.


Kondakoora showing a hairpin element fitted to the back

Whilst the majority of the silversmiths and jewellery makers on the island were Tamils, some migrated from Sri Lanka to the Malay Peninsula in the 19th century, where they made jewellery items for local Straits Chinese clients. Overtime, the creative Tamil art integrated with the local skills and inevitably cross-fertilisation of styles evolved. As a result, it is not always easy today to discern whether some items are Sri Lankan or Straits Chinese in manufacture.

Displays of Sri Lankan kondakooras are exhibited in such museums as the British Museum in London, the National Museum of Colombo in Sri Lanka and the National Negara Museum of Malaysia.


Old postcard from the National Museum of Colombo showing (19th C)

Acknowledgement: Michael Backman Ltd for some of the details sourced from an article in Ethnic Jewels Magazine: Coastal Sri Lankan 19th Century Jewellery by Michael Backman

Jen Cruse is author of


The Comb: Its History and Development

Posted in Jen Cruse, Kondakoora, Sri Lankan Hair Pins, The Comb | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

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).”

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Creative Museum: Stones, Leaves, Scissors

The Creative Museum just played a significant part in another exhibition at the Montelimar Miniature Museum.

STONES, LEAVES, SCISSORS is about hair ornaments made in three different ways. Whether an artist looks at a piece of jade and carves a crown, looks at a piece of silver and cuts leaves into an intricate pattern, or takes lock of hair and puts it in a locket or medallion — each method of craftsmanship is showcased.

The ground floor is dedicated to semi-precious stones on hair ornaments. This Chinese jade crown made in the Qing Dynasty and decorated with a phoenix is a great example.

Dragon figures were male symbols. When they were carved on a crown’s side wings, it was a sign of a well-read Chinese man. The wings could also be upright, as in this example of open-worked pale green jade. The solid parts are carved with dragons, which are also an emblem of power.

Jade stone was supposed to help deceased people reach heaven, so a jade comb was added to other burial objects inside the tomb. Transparency is one of its qualities. Its infinite shades — such as olive green, almond green, pinkish brown, or orchid white — are endless.

Women wore jade on more discrete ornaments. They usually preferred jadeite, which was less expensive and enjoyed the vivid green color against their jet black hair. This delicate hair ornament is for a “liang-patou” (large hair knot or black silk knot) and is richly decorated with gems and pearls. Note the little butterfly with a coral bead on the tip of its antennas.

From China again, these bright pink tourmalines strengthen the dazzle of the bright blue kingfisher feathers inlaid in Manchu adornments.

Amber is a fossil resin which presents different shades of yellow. It is pale yellow when it comes from the Baltic Sea, and a clear caramel color when from Europe. The plaque on this tortoiseshell comb features typical Skonvirke style flowers. It is made of repousse silver embellished with Baltic amber beads. (Hallmarks: H&C 830 S: H.N Hviid & Co in Copenhagen.)

In the same museum case, we added the brick red of cornelian from central asian adornments such as this double-sided Turkomen wedding comb, which is made of wood covered with embossed brass and decorated with gemstones on both sides.

We also included another liang-patou ornament, featuring twins carved in amber inside a lotus flower. The flower was once fully inlaid with kingfisher feathers. These figures are symbol of fertility.

The red garnet and the purple amethyst meet on Western pieces such as these two French Empire combs, one of glass stones, and the other sporting real amethysts.

Our Indian hair pin with opal and ruby, tortoiseshell Eugenie comb with malachite balls, and our theatre tiara with crystal quartz complete this colored collection of stones, a real must for any jewelry collection.

The leaves theme shows the use of floral design on hair ornaments, complex decoration that required highly skilled craftsmen. In the museum case, Chinese mirrors shine like bright stars next to hair combs decorated with branches and leaves. In Japan, nature has always been at the forefront of artists’ inspiration. This comb from Dejima painted with branches and leaves, and our Edo comb with chrysanthemums are perfect examples.

Tsunami kanzashi are hair pins whose flowers are made with folded silk squares.

When older women have formal parties, they favor traditional dress. They love older style kanzashi wedding sets. This silver wedding kanzashi portrays the long-living turtle Minogame and the crane, symbols of longevity and happiness.

This wedding headdress with exuberant blooms comes from the Miao people, a Chinese minority. It is part of a bridal dowry, and it would have been considered sacrilegious to have taken it away from the bride for any reason.

In the late 19th Century, Chinese craftsmen, who were expert at carving ivory and tortoiseshell, made ornamental combs for the Western market. Flowers like the lotus, a symbol of purity; the chrysanthemum, a symbol of longevity; and the rose, a symbol of luck; were the most popular designs.

On this hair ornament from Burma, the decoration appears like a flower and leaf bridge.

A spectacular headdress brings to an end, the leaves theme. It comes from Sumatra, weighs 3.3 pounds, and is worn for weddings. Each element is a flower, mounted on a spring stem, decorated with tiny leaves.

Today, we are surprised to see hair used as a material for jewelry, but it was very common in Victorian times. Bracelets, necklaces, brooches, even diadems were made with it. The British and French deeply appreciated wearing medallions with their initials: charm drops, pendants, and collar and cuff buttons made of woven hair. Medallions were often made as reliquary, which kept the permanent memory of a loved person. The traditional motif was a tomb with willow tree and cyprus as symbols of death.

Posted in Chinese Hair Comb, Chinese Hair Pin, Creative Museum, Export Comb, Han Dynasty, Huasheng, Manchu hair pin, Nothern and Southern Dynasties, Qing Dynasty, Tang Dynasty, Warring States Period | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment