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  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1850-1900 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ikeda Taishin, born 1825 - died 1903 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Black and gold lacquer

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Fumie Kosuge

  • Museum number:

    FE.46:1, 2-2002

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The Japanese hairpin or bodkin was originally a pin to roll the hair into a chignon.. From the late seventeenth century onwards, however, it became an ornate hair ornament. The more elaborate hairpin consisted of two sections, such as this example, so that the pin could be inserted into the hairstyle without spoiling it. Either ends of the hairpin were usually decorated since these were the only parts visible when worn. Combs and hairpins were often paired as a set which corresponded in material, technique and subject. This hairpin is a pair with the comb FE.47-2002. Both are signed Ikeda Taishin (1825-1903), who was probably the most succesful pupil of the famous lacquerer Shibata Zeshin (1807-91).

Over the centuries, hairstyles and hair ornaments underwent considerable transformation in Japan. From roughly the twelfth to the late sixteenth centuries, it was customary for women to wear their hair long and loose without ornamentation. Thereafter hair was put up with increasingly elaborate hair ornaments. At first hair ornaments were mostly confined to women of the elite but, from the mid eighteenth century onwards, they were increasingly available to all strata of society. During the Edo period (1615-1868), women used a wide variety of combs (kushi), bodkins or hairpins (kanzashi) and hairpins (kogai) in a wide range of materials, such as wood, ivory and tortoiseshell, which were most commonly decorated with lacquer. Not only did the hairstyle and its ornaments reflected the age, social class and marital status of the woman, but the hair ornaments also reflected the individual’s taste.

Physical description

Wood hairpin covered with glossy black roiro lacquer, which separates into two in the middle, one half having a rod which fits into the hollowed cavity of the other. Decorated at both ends with scattered oak leaves and pine needles in gold hiramaki-e (flat sprinkled picture) and takamaki-e (high sprinkled picture) lacquer..

Place of Origin

Japan (made)


ca. 1850-1900 (made)


Ikeda Taishin, born 1825 - died 1903 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Black and gold lacquer

Marks and inscriptions

The artist's two-character signature in gold hiramaki-e lacquer, with one character on the middle of each half of the hairpin.


Width: 13.75 cm at widest, Depth: 1.5 cm at deepest

Descriptive line

Hairpin, wood covered with black lacquer, decorated with oak leaves and pine needles in gold lacquer, Ikeda Taishin, Japan, ca.1850-1900.


Lacquer; Foil; Shell

Subjects depicted

Oak leaf


Hats & headwear


East Asia Collection

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