Kanzashi 簪 – Hair Accessories

Traditional Japanese hair accessory or hair jewelry ist called Kanzashi. It is worn especially at weddings or events, where tradition is emphasized. Geishas, maikos, meaning learning geishas wear it or it is used at the tea ceremony or ikebana. However, Kanzashi is now experiencing new popularity amon young women due to its elegance and grace.

My Kanzashi are kept simple and can be used at any time. Thematically many of them are associated with Peniche, Portugal, because I was able to collect a lot of shell and sea snails, which are worked with.This is rather unusual and uncommon in Japan, where primarily plants serve as a model and symbolically express the seasons. There are also more elaborate Kanzashi with a lot of inlay or which are treated with real gold, and they are rather intended for special occasions.

It is thought, that the word Kanzashi comes from Kamizashi 髪刺, which means hairpin. Kanzashi can be traced back to the Jomon period (c. 14000-300 BC), when people put sticks in their hair to guard against curses.

For a long time, no hair ornament was worn at all because open hair was fashionable, but since the end of the 16th century, beginning of the 17th century more elaborate hair styles developed and thus also more elaborate hair jewelry.