Combs and other personal grooming implements were often included in bridal trousseaux during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Italy. In 1474, for example, Caterina Pico da Carpi had seven ivory combs in her wedding trousseau. This one is decorated on both sides with animals and birds, and the center of one side has the amorous device of a flaming heart.
Combs were very much part of the pictorial imagery of the beautiful woman, not always in a virtuous context. The comb was also considered a privileged object in that it could touch the beloved directly. This idea was expressed in poetry as a metaphor for much-desired intimacy.
J. Pierpont Morgan (American), London and New York (until 1917)
New York. The Cloisters Museum & Gardens. "The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages," March 28, 1975–June 15, 1975.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Love and Marriage in Renaissance Italy," November 11, 2008–February 16, 2009.
Ft. Worth, TX. Kimbell Art Museum. "Love and Marriage in Renaissance Italy," March 15, 2009–June 14, 2009.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Metropolitan Vanities: The History of the Dressing Table," December 17, 2013–April 13, 2014.
Husband, Timothy B., and Jane Hayward, ed. The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975. no. 107a, pp. 86, 94, fig. 5.
Bayer, Andrea, ed. Art and Love in Renaissance Italy. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008. no. 37, p. 106–7.