Changzhou comb

Changzhou comb
Changzhou combs representing the Four Beauties of China

The Changzhou comb (Chinese: 常州梳篦) is a type of hand-painted comb produced in Changzhou, Jiangsu, China. The combs were originally made for use by royalty and have been in production for over 2000 years.



Production of hand-painted combs in Changzhou dates from the Eastern Zhou (770-221 BCE) (Chinese: 东周, also called The Transitional Period, Chinese: 春秋战国), the first master was Chen Qizi (Chinese: 陈七子). The hand-painted combs of Changzhou have been popular since the time of the Southern and Northern Dynasties. During the Qing Dynasty, local officials would send the finest combs to the palace. An ivory comb made in Changzhou is still displayed in the Forbidden City.[1]

Manufacturing processes

Production of Changzhou combs requires special skills and use of dedicated materials. The materials for combs can be bamboo, wood or animal bones. The bamboo is mainly from the south from Jiangsu and the west of Zhejiang. The wood mainly stems from valuable types, such as mahogany wood, jujube wood, heather and boxwood. The production process of a wooden comb (Chinese: ) contains 28 steps and a Bi (Chinese: , a different type of comb, which has more teeth)[2] requires 72 processes. The production of combs is very specific about the carving, painting, heating, engraving, grinding and other processes that are used, and which require traditional crafts.[3] Since Changzhou comb is made with natural materials, they are often used for decorative purposes, while the use is also said to be good for the hair.[4]


Changzhou combs have also won many awards. They were first exhibited outside China at the Panama–Pacific International Exposition in 1915, where a Silver Award was received. In the following decades, several prizes were won inside and outside China. Changzhou combs were also presented as gifts of Shanghai World Expo to visitors.[5]

  • The Southern Seas Industries Association (Chinese: 南洋劝业会)[6] (1910): Gold Medal
  • Panama–Pacific International Exposition (1915): Silver Medal[7]
  • The Philadelphia Exposition (1926): Gold Medal[8]
  • The national light industrial export exhibition (1988): Silver Medal[9]
  • Beijing International Exposition (1991): Gold Medal [10]


  1. ^ "梳篦世家延陵地" (in Chinese). The intangible cultural heritage internet China. 1 April 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "鬓师眉匠画中篦" (in Chinese). Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  3. ^ "常州梳篦的制作工艺 (Production process of the Changzhou comb)" (in Chinese). CNTV. 16 September 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2011. 
  4. ^ "2005/10/20/11221679" (in Chinese). 20 October 2005. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  5. ^ "常州梳篦 世博奇芭" (in Chinese). Shanghai World Expo. 22 April 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  6. ^ "南洋劝业会:南京一个世纪前的世博会 (a century ago, Nanjing Expo)" (in Chinese). 22 April 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  7. ^ "常州梳篦 (Changzhou comb)" (in Chinese). Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  8. ^ "独具特色的常州梳篦 (Unique Changzhou comb)" (in Chinese). China Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  9. ^ "常州梳筐博物馆开幕" (in Chinese). Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  10. ^ "常州梳篦详细介绍 (details of the Changzhou comb)" (in Chinese). Retrieved 26 September 2011. 

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