Japanese Antique Hairpin Set

Antique Ball Style Kanzashi with Tama Coral Beads and Chrysanthemum Ear Spoon


Age:1912-1926 (Taisho Period)

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: Hairpin—6-3/8”L; Coral Beads— 3/8”dia. each, 3-1/2”L

Traditional two prong Tama metal hair pin, (bronze finish), with Chrysanthemum prong style Ear Spoon at the end. The set is complete with eight red Tama Coral Beads which were typically tied to the hair or bun. Traditionally a red tama coral is worn October–May. At some point in history in Japan, hair ornamentation were considered to be “vain” and was prohibited by law because women were now allowed to show an excessively high opinion of one's appearance. To circumvent that law, an ear spoon was attached to the end of the kanzashi so it could pass as a utilitarian piece rather than a vanity item. 

Antique Condition: Pristine, unused condition. No visual or structural or surface wear or damage. As good as the day it was made and sold in its original box.

NOTE: Kushi and Kanzashi are elaborate Japanese hair ornaments often worn with traditional Japanese clothing and now throughout contemporary society. There are many different styles of Kushi & Kanzashi, depending upon what they are made from and how they are fastened into the hair.

Jewelry such as earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets common in many other cultures were not traditionally worn by Japanese women.  The primary method of displaying one's status and wealth in Japan was through the quality and expense of the cloth one wore as well as the tailoring of the clothing.  Nonetheless, Japanese women did wear certain resplendent accessories that can be considered jewelry, items that were highlighted through images of beautiful women (bijin).  

A Japanese comb and hairpin is about much more than just styling your hair. Some 400 years ago, Japan took the simple comb and transformed it into an elegant beauty accessory that became a work of art. Japanese kushi, (combs), and kanzashi, (hairpin), became expressions of a woman’s character, social class, religion. People could even tell what neighborhood someone lived in by looking at their hair ornaments. According to an ancient Japanese proverb, “A woman’s hair is her life”, (Kami wa onna no inochi), and from the early 1600’s until the beginning of the modern era, decorative combs and hairpins have been an important part of Japanese fashion. In the Edo period, the women's hairstyle that had been hanging straight up until that time became "a hairstyle of the movement”, so the demand for combing and hanking, (coiling, knotting, looping a piece of hair) became in fashion.