W100xD40mm, China

Comb in China became a special artisan trade around 700BC, the design, shape and material changes through out the different dynasty.  Apart from being a function object, it also became an accessory for hair styling in the Tong dynasty.  This can be seen in the Tang dynasty scroll “A Palace Concert” where ladies from the Emperor’s inner court were shown to be enjoying their drinks, the comb accessory can be seen as decoration in their hairdo.  This is still practiced by the minority tribes; the Shui, the Miao, the Dong tribe etc.  There is a folk tale explaining why the Shui tribe ladies have a comb in their hair, the story goes: a group of women were working hard in the fields, they have left their baby in a basket at the edge of the rice paddle.  Suddenly they heard the baby crying, they went running to see what is wrong only to found a large centipede making its way to the baby.  By the baby’s side is few wooden combs, the centipede had a look at the combs and compared the number of teeth with his own number of legs.  “Damn, i have been out numbered” thought the centipede and quickly made retreated.  Since then, the Shui tribe ladies have combs in their hair.

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