Double Comb thumbnail 1
Double Comb thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
South-East Asia, Room 47a

Double Comb

4th quarter 18th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This double-sided, wooden comb is mounted with gold and inlaid with a trellis-work of uncut rubies and emeralds in typically Burmese style. The comb would have been one of the items in a Burmese court lady's cosmetic box known as a bi-it together with oil, perfumes, a few tresses of hair and thanahka (powder).

This comb is believed to be of royal provenance as the strict sumptuary laws of the Burmese court of Mandalay during the time of the Konbaung Dynasty (1752-1885) restricted the use of precious gemstones to royalty and their courtiers.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Wood and gold, inlaid with rubies and emeralds
Brief Description
Burmese double-sided wood comb mounted with gold inlaid with rubies and emeralds. Konbaung Dynasty (1752-1885), ca. late 18th century.
Physical Description
Double-sided. Wooden teeth set in a framework of gold mounted with rubies and emeralds on either side. The gold frame consists of two concave side-pieces connected by a broad band chased with a trellis pattern: each side of the comb is set with 19 rubies and 24 emeralds.
Dimensions
  • Length: 8.2cm
  • Width: 5.1cm
Style
Production typeUnique
Gallery Label
Comb 1775–1825 Konbaung period During the Konbaung period the use of precious stones was limited by law to royalty and the nobility. This sumptuously made comb would have belonged to a courtier or a member of the royal family. Gold, wood, emeralds and rubies Burma (probably Amarapura or Ava, now Inwa) Museum no. 2-1902(14/06/2011)
Object history
This comb is deemed to be of royal provenance as the strict sumptuary laws of the Burmese court of Mandalay during the time of the Konbaung Dynasty (1752-1885) restricted the use of precious gemstones to royalty and their courtiers.
Summary
This double-sided, wooden comb is mounted with gold and inlaid with a trellis-work of uncut rubies and emeralds in typically Burmese style. The comb would have been one of the items in a Burmese court lady's cosmetic box known as a bi-it together with oil, perfumes, a few tresses of hair and thanahka (powder).



This comb is believed to be of royal provenance as the strict sumptuary laws of the Burmese court of Mandalay during the time of the Konbaung Dynasty (1752-1885) restricted the use of precious gemstones to royalty and their courtiers.
Bibliographic Reference
Nandagopal, Choodamani. "Burmese Jewellery From the Collection of The V&A". in The Art of Burma - New Studies; ed. Donald M. Stadtner Marg Publications, Mumbai 1999. 178p., ill.
Collection
Accession Number
IS.2-1902

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record createdNovember 30, 1999
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