comb (hair ornaments)

Large ornamental comb with 18 tines and elaborate binding of yellow, red and black orchid stem fibre binding.

Ornamental Hair-Comb, Faa, Malaita, Solomon Islands The faa combs of Malaita are small masterpieces, displaying all the great strengths of Solomon Islands art. They seamlessly unify a practical purpose with artistic ornamentation. They take the frequently limited materials of a remote island environment, and combine them with a really strong aesthetic taste to create artworks that resonate with anyone. The comb has strong lines, and the black palmwood tines splayed out by the plaited cross-bar form a strong contrast with the ornamental red and yellow plaited strips of orchid stem. The yellow strips are the orchid stem’s natural colour when dried, and the red colour is produced by boiling the strips in water, which causes a natural chemical colour-change without the use of dye. Palm wood, orchid stem. Early 20th Century. Formerly in the private collection of a Mrs Bellamy.

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