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Comb with Fans, Water, Ivy and Berries, late 19th c.
Lacquer and mother of pearl on Wood
7 3/8 x 4 1/8 in. (18.8 x 10.41 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: 2013.7.100


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 stylized water and scattered fans with images of plants. Beside them are red nanten (sacred flowering bamboo) berries, unidentified six-petaled flowers, and what appears to be ivy leaves. Nanten berries were a popular motif at New Years’ time. This comb is a horseshoe shape.

Jasmine Kusumowidagdo '16

Marks
None.

Medium
lacquered wood and inlaid with mother of pearl

Object Description
The comb's design features stylized water and scattered fans with images of plants. Beside them are red nanten (sacred flowering bamboo) berries, unidentified six-petaled flowers, and what appears to be ivy leaves.

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