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Japanese Combs

April 3 – June 10, 2007

Traditionally, combs in Japan have been used by women not only for grooming the hair, but for accessorizing elaborate hairstyles as well. By the 17th century, combs for ornamental purposes came to be objects on which Japanese artisans lavished their genius for small-scale design. In addition, combs have been the focus of an extensive body of folklore beliefs. This exhibition of Japanese decorative combs from the 19th and early 20th centuries features more than 50 examples in lacquered wood, ivory and tortoiseshell, with inlays of coral and mother-of-pearl, drawn principally from the Joan Dorf collection. The exhibition is in conjunction with the concurrent Secret Life of Japanese Textiles.