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Gold Comb and Hairpin with Quail and Autumn Plants

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Unknown,
Gold Comb and Hairpin with Quail and Autumn Plants, N.d.
Lacquer on Horse hoof
1 1/8 x 3 1/8 in. (2.8 x 7.9 cm)


Object Type: Hair Ornamentation
Technique: Carving
Creation Place: Asia, Japan
Credit Line: Gift of Dr. Ralph Riffenburgh, in honor of Angelyn Kelley Riffenburgh
Accession Number: 2013.7.32a,b


Commentary
These Japanese hair ornaments were collected by the late Angelyn Kelley Riffenburgh over decades. Angelyn’s husband, Dr. Ralph Riffenburgh, presented the combs in her honor to the Scripps College collections in 2012. Most of these hair ornaments, or kanzashi, are made of bamboo or lightweight woods that have been lacquered; they date from the 18th century well into the 20th, when elaborate hairstyles included decorative combs (kushi) and hairpins (kogai). Matched sets of ornaments featured seasonal images, landscape scenes, as well as historical or fictional references. The combination of pine, bamboo (nanten), and plum blossom (shochikubai) designs were popular at New Year’s time. Cherry blossom patterns were worn in the spring, and chrysanthemums in the autumn. Some kanzashi were made with tortoiseshell, mother of pearl, bone, or precious metals. Hairpins with a ball ornament, or tama, were also color coordinated to the seasons, with the cool colors green and blue worn during the summer months and the warm colors red, orange, and gold used during the winter.
--Bruce Coats, Professor of Art History and the Humanities

The comb's design features quails among mums, other autumn plans, and stylized water. The artist's mark reads "Fusai." The comb is a rikyu-kata shape. The hairpin, or kogai, features the same quails, autumn plants, and stylized water as the comb. The artist's mark reads "Fusai." There are also narrow bands with rectalinear spirals. This shape also figures as a thunder motif in Chinese art.

Jasmine Kusumowidagdo '16

Marks
The artist's marks on the comb and kogai read "Fusai."

Medium
The comb and hairpin are made of lacquered horse's hoof.

Object Description
The comb's design features quails among mums, other autumn plans, and stylized water. The artist's mark reads "Fusai." The comb is a rikyu-kata shape. The hairpin, or kogai, features the same quails, autumn plants, and stylized water as the comb. The artist's mark reads "Fusai." There are also narrow bands with rectalinear spirals. This shape also figures as a thunder motif in Chinese art. The kogai is a single-piece, flared anvil shape with a rounded center. Its length measures 15.6 cm.

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