Comb

DATE:
19th–very early 20th century
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Wood, bone, and feathers
CLASSIFICATION:
Tools and Equipment
DIMENSIONS:
18 × 7 × 6 in. (45.72 × 17.78 × 15.24 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Arts of the Pacific Islands
LOCATION:
Arts of the Pacific Islands - Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, Level 3
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, gift of The Nasher Foundation in honor of Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher
OBJECT NUMBER:
2008.73

General Description

The design elements on combs are similar to those on gold ornaments; however, combs are usually made from less precious materials. The inlay for this comb was carved from the ribs of a water buffalo. Well-ordered spirals form the bands of tight curls along the edges, and the arabesques of the central panels conceal two snake-like creatures. The comb was worn flat on the head with the handle toward the back. In a central hole on the top of this handle, a large plume was placed, typically made of bird’s feathers.

This comb was worn by only a select group of older men, including champions, warriors, and village chiefs, who defended the prestige of the community.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, 2013.