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Etched Crystal Comb

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Unknown,
Etched Crystal Comb, N.d.
Crystal
2 x 3 7/8 in. (5.1 x 9.8 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: 2013.7.49


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 a dragonfly above grasses and stylized water. Dr. Juli Wolfgram believes it was "never intended for wear…it would have been a gift from a patron, meant to communicate his wealth". The comb is a half-moon shape.

Jasmine Kusumowidagdo '16

Marks
The artist's mark is unidentified.

Medium
The comb is made of etched crystal.

Object Description
The comb's design features a dragonfly above grasses and stylized water. Dr. Juli Wolfgram believes it was "never intended for wear…it would have been a gift from a patron, meant to communicate his wealth". The comb is a half-moon shape.

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