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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:31 pm 
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Location: Canterbury, UK
I am posting some photos below of a Yao comb - bone with incised metal on it. The darker, shorter tassels are silk. The bigger tassel might be partly silk or all cotton. It seems to be the same as the red pom-pom which is probably cotton. The beads are glass.

I know that the comb is Yao but not which group or where they are located. I bought the comb in a gallery in Singapore in March 2002 and they had sourced it from a dealer in Bangkok. It was about the time that Jess Pourret's book on the Yao was published ('The Yao: The Mien and Mun Yao in China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand' by Jess G Pourret published by River Books). Despite all the illustrations in this book none of them seem to show this comb.

It may well have been used in association with one of the wedding veil or other headdress structures which the Yao women wear. If we had the veil that could be a pointer to the origin but the comb by itself is just tantalising...

I am aware that a couple of forum members have/had similar combs and do not, I think, know anything much more about them. I think that we, and certainly I, would like to know more and am asking forum members if they can help. If not immediately then please keep the comb in your mind when you are looking through books and/or photos or happen across one.


Attachments:
File comment: Yao comb
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File comment: Detail of front of comb
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File comment: Detail of back of Yao comb
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IMGP6241w.jpg [ 59.01 KiB | Viewed 6529 times ]

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Pamela

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:11 pm 
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Sorry, I realised that I didn't give you any measurements for the comb. As these are rather tedious to type out I have printed out the overall photo above and put the measurements on in a diagram which I have scanned. (These are all in cm).


Attachments:
File comment: measurements for Yao comb (in cm)
yao_comb_measurements.jpg
yao_comb_measurements.jpg [ 60.16 KiB | Viewed 6508 times ]

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Pamela

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:15 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2003 6:34 pm
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Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Hi Pamela-
Nice comb! I had one of those, along with an unusually shaped hat, both of which I no longer have. I was able to ask Jess Pourret about these and found out that the comb is used in conjunction with the hat, being stuck into the hair at an angle with the large pompom up, at the back of the hat. Here's the hat, but I don't have any photos of them together- sorry, but we'll have to use our imaginations. He didn't tell me which group used these, but the embroidered cloth on the hat suggests that it is one of the Mien groups, rather than Mun, and probably from China. He also said that these headdresses are more likely to be worn for ceremonies of any kind. As you probably know, the Yao have an elaborate, projecting wedding headdress for the women, on which they add several textiles to form a covering for her head and face.


Attachments:
File comment: Yao Ceremonial Hat, sans comb
Mail-AH106_Right_Side.jpg
Mail-AH106_Right_Side.jpg [ 62.51 KiB | Viewed 6494 times ]

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:23 am 
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Susan,

Thanks very much indeed for passing on this information shared with you by Jess Pourret. Very interesting. Yes, I remember the interesting Yao veil and structure which you have kindly posted below both from your site and when I visited it you in Chiang Mai. I seem to remember handling it and thinking how much I would like it but the difficulties of travelling and also storage.

The veil in yours looks rather like some of the ones coming out of Guangxi.

Steven Frost spotted an interesting picture on the www.tribalmania.com website together with some other fascinating Yao 'structures' (or one could be forgiven for saying 'sculptures'!) see http://www.tribalmania.com/YAOHATS.htm the last image on the page. I have contacted Michael Auliso of tribalmania to ask him if I can post the image directly since the page is likely to disappear when other items sell and he has kindly responded giving his permission. I post the image here together with the information given. I asked Michael for any information on the provenance but he has not got back to me on that.

This would seem to concur with Susan/Jess's comments above although the comb is probably situated in a slightly different place to that suggested by Jess Pourret. The veil on the tribalmania.com edifice does seem - as the caption shows - to be in the browns which we see coming out of Guangxi.

I am very grateful to have the further information about my comb. I was very attracted to it when Akemi Hirama first showed it to me in her gallery in Singapore in the excitement of its arrival with her from Bangkok. For me this is confirmation yet again of the worth of the forum and the friends I have made around the world who are as passionately interested in textiles and their cultural uses as I am.

THANK YOU ALL!


Attachments:
File comment: Yao hat with embroidered cloth and bone comb, Guangxi, China, circa 1900 from the www.tribalmania.com website in March 2008
yaohats10.jpg
yaohats10.jpg [ 53.41 KiB | Viewed 6485 times ]

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Pamela

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:52 pm 
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I received an email today from Martin Conlan of 'Slow Lorris' who travels frequently to China. He had been browsing the forum and seen this thread. Although I can't (yet!) persuade him to join the forum he has said that I can share his thoughts on the comb and also photos of one he once had.

Quote:
"I was browsing through your blog tonight and saw the Yao comb. This I believe is Mien Guoshan Yao from Hunan/Guangdong border area.

Some come with single pom poms, or like mine with 2. The beads are usually porcelain. I still find the occasional one but most now are copies-the combs of these have sharper edges but are very well made and a single old pom pom is usually attached. Prices for these remain high.

6 to 8 years ago more old Guoshan Yao pieces were available, now you hardly find any and they are very expensive. See page 109 of Jess's book, #237 woman's bib."


There are various text references to this group in Jess Pourret's book.


Attachments:
Yao_combSL01.jpg
Yao_combSL01.jpg [ 53.46 KiB | Viewed 6445 times ]
Yao_combSL02.jpg
Yao_combSL02.jpg [ 65.71 KiB | Viewed 6445 times ]

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Pamela

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 4:08 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:45 am
Posts: 142
Pamela,

Thank you for passing along the information, and thanks Martin! I have never seen a comb of this type with two pompoms. Or the single long string if beads for that matter. The incised geometric design on the bone is different that any of the other examples I have seen as well. The center of the back is also missing the streamer on Pamela's example. It looks like a newer example to me, but very interesting.



Steven



www.stevenqfrost.net


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 Post subject: Silver version
PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 2:20 pm 
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A recent acquistion - a Yao comb which broadly follows the decorative patterns of those posted above the front bearing an interlinked "double coin" motif (possible Han influence) and on the back four groups containing in descending order 6, 5, 4 and 3 circle stamps borne on 16 individual teeth (smaller in number than all those posted here). This silver piece appears somewhat newer than those previously posted - the new tassels for example - although there are definite signs of this comb having been worn. The dimensions are similar to the comb in Pamela's possession - silver teeth are just over 15 cm long bound together measure 8 cm across. Now to find the headcloth to go with it :D


Attachments:
Yao_comb_front.jpg
Yao_comb_front.jpg [ 148.28 KiB | Viewed 4279 times ]
Yao_comb_back.jpg
Yao_comb_back.jpg [ 133.76 KiB | Viewed 4279 times ]
Yao_comb_back_a.jpg
Yao_comb_back_a.jpg [ 179.57 KiB | Viewed 4279 times ]
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