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Dark brown and gold streaked hair comb. Eight long teeth, ornately carved crest with pierced and carved dragon design which wraps around itself. Scroll-vine design around the edge. This hair comb was made from the shell of a tortoise. Tortoise was a valuable material for making combs. It was easy to shape, very durable, and required no coloring or streaking. Many species of tortoise were hunted near extinction for their shells. Tortoise shell combs were a status symbol and horns made out of animal horn were cheaper and more common. Combs of this type made of horn and tortoise shell were extremely popular in the 1870s and 1880s. They were worn at the very top of the head or at the temples to keep hair back off the face. This comb has a carved dragon design which reflects America’s fascination with China and Japan during this period. How we learn about communities; American communities in history 16 History; 15 Economics; 17 Geography
|Early American Museum|
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University Library|
Clothing Tortoise Shell
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