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Double comb

Double comb

  • Place of origin:

    Burma (made)

  • Date:

    4th quarter 18th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood and gold, inlaid with rubies and emeralds

  • Museum number:

    IS.2-1902

  • Gallery location:

    South-East Asia, Room 47a, case 15

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.

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.

Place of Origin

Burma (made)

Date

4th quarter 18th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Wood and gold, inlaid with rubies and emeralds

Dimensions

Length: 8.2 cm, Width: 5.1 cm

Object history note

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.

Descriptive line

Burmese double-sided wood comb mounted with gold inlaid with rubies and emeralds. Konbaung Dynasty (1752-1885), ca. late 18th century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

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.

Labels and date

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]

Materials

Wood; Gold; Rubies; Emerald

Techniques

Inlay

Production Type

Unique

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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