Vintage Lacquered Kushi Inlaid with Aogai and Mother of Pearl | Japanese Kanzashi Hair Accessory


Dimensions: 2-1/4”h x 3-3/4” l 

Shown is an Antique Japanese Hair Comb (Kushi) decorated using Japanese Makie (Gold lacquer), illustrating a portion of a silk cloth with a wave, Mount Fuji, and pines surrounded with miniature chrysanthemum flowers executed in multi colors of Mother-of-Pearl. Additionally is a branch and leaf motif in gold lacquer and incpororated on both sides of the hair comb with the comb-drums, (teeth), are all intact. The entire piece is executed on a wood base with black lacquer finish. The use of Aogai affords the piece extremely fine decoration and made for a woman of rank. This piece was not an export item.

Vintage Condition: Excellent condition, with extremely fine ornamentation and lacquerwork, with no missing or broken parts, and no defects of note. The piece retains the original craft/workmanship, and void of any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear or structural damage.

 NOTE: Kanzashi are elaborate Japanese hair ornaments often worn with traditional Japanese clothing and now throughout contemporary society. A Japanese hair comb or 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 Kanzashi became expressions of a woman’s character, social class, or 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.

These artworks are the crystallization of the best of techniques such as woodworking, metalworking, lacquer art, openwork, inlay, mother-of-pearl work, These valuable cultural assets vividly show the scenic beauty in Japan, spiritual prosperity of the Japanese people and unparalleled skills of the Japanese ancestors.