I'll admit to having known about the wonderful beauty of Kanzashi for a while now - I actually considered wearing one in my hair for our wedding, but they didn't really go with the whole 30s/40s thing (and didn't match the beaded silk gown, let's face it). Still, whenever I see them, I just can't help emitting a sound somewhere between "Ooooo!" and "Awww!". I - and many others - am quite enamoured of these sweet reminders of our ally on the other side of the globe.

Traditionally, these beautiful ornaments were worn in Japanese coiffured hairstyles (as opposed to long and straight) that was popular from the mid-12th to the 16th centuries. They gained popularity again during the 18th and 19th centuries, and since everything good comes 'round again, they're very popular today - particularly due to the indie craft movement.

"Tsumami" refers to the act of pinching, "Kanzashi" means hair ornament; this is appropriate as these pieces are created by pinching small, square pieces of fabric (usually silk) into a lovely piece of hair art (you can see some gorgeously elaborate pieces here). Not only were they beautiful, some historians think certain kinds of kanzashi were used in self-defense! Geisha wear kanzashi, and the manner in which she wears it actually transmits her status to others. Coming in forms from wooden combs (Kushi) and chopsticks (kogai) with dangling flowers, kanzashi is a varying art, the wearing of which is dictated by the season! (As an example, in February, deep pink or red trailing blossoms are worn to symbolize young love and the forthcoming spring - you can read more at Wikipedia, but as with anything from that site, a grain of salt may be necessary. There is also Immortal Geisha).

Today's Tsumami Kansashi barrette comes from the hands of gochemoche, and is made of smooth red kimono silk with green silk leaves on each side. There's a pretty golden bead cap with a pearl glued to the flower itself for a classy - but not overpoweringly formal - finishing touch. It's shipped in a white gift box with darling origami stars for that all-out 'treat' feeling, and is a mere $9.

As you can see, gochemoche has quite a selection of beautiful kanzashi for your perusal and enjoyment - and, of course, for your wearing. There is a variety of other jewelry and very nice goodies, too. Enjoy!

My creation



Blogger Bejeweled said...

What lovely mini masterpieces of art!

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