Kanzashi!

25.07.2011 § Leave a comment

I learned something new today! For those who don’t know (like me a few hours ago): a Kanzashi is a traditional Japanese hair ornament that appeared in Japanese prehistorical Jōmon Period under the form of a thin rod or stick placed in the hair to protect from evil spirits. Kanzashi evolved a lot through the ages. Along with a fashion for larger and more complex hairstyles the Kanzashi craftsmanship excelled in the late Edo period (18th – 19th century) to the point where it became art. Miriam Slater, a Californian artist and Kanzashi collector, says in her website

“Kanzashi were made in a variety of precious materials including silver, coral, lacquer and tortoise. Some of the pieces were worn by geisha and the largest were worn by Japanese’s most expensive courtesans called oiran. The type and number of kanzashi arranged on a woman’s head depicted her status and position and was strictly regulated by law. For example, geisha wore simpler kanzashi than the oiran whose kanzashi were quite large and elaborate. In fact oiran were said to have worn the value of a house on their head and were called “castletoppers” because one’s castle had to be sold to maintain her.”


18th – 19th century  Lacquer Kanzashi from the amazing collection of Miriam Slater

Pictures: Miriam Slater visit the website to see the rest of the beautiful collection. For those very interested in Hair Combs here’s a great blog: Barbaraanne’s Hair Comb Blog

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