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Black Hairpin with Fans and Spider

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Unknown,
Black Hairpin with Fans and Spider, N.d.
Lacquer on Wood
6 5/16 in. (16 cm)


Object Type: Hair Ornamentation
Technique: Carving
Period: Edo, Late (1789-1868) or Meiji (1869-1912)
Credit Line: Gift of Dr. Ralph Riffenburgh, in honor of Angelyn Kelley Riffenburgh
Accession Number: 2013.7.89


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 hairpin, or kogai, features flowers, fans, a spider with its spiderweb, pine, willow, and bamboo. The backgrounds of the flared dumbbell ends have somehow been treated so as to have a slightly textured surface. The kogai is a two-part, flared dumbbell shape. The relatively thin bar reveals it was intended primarily for decoration.

Jasmine Kusumowidagdo '16

Marks
None.

Medium
The hairpin is made of lacquered wood.

Object Description
The hairpin, or kogai, features flowers, fans, a spider with its spiderweb, pine, willow, and bamboo. The backgrounds of the flared dumbbell ends have somehow been treated so as to have a slightly textured surface. The kogai is a two-part, flared dumbbell shape.

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