1940's

Compacts with International Designs

Compacts exuded patriotic designs during the war period, while others which sported fun designs, such as musical instruments that express relief about the end of the war, both of the desines are impressive in this decade. Compacts were produced using materials, motifs, and manufacturing methods unique to each country in many cases, and are characterized by the diversity of materials used.

Sonata

1940sUKBrass

A delightful stereoscopic compact in split form representing a real grand piano. The legs of the piano can be folded in. This compact is a homage to the post-war period, which marked the return of lively music and the widespread availability of makeup for ladies.

Spanish Guitar

1940sSpainBrass & Leather

This guitar-shaped compact that is so realistic that you can almost hear a flamenco melody issuing forth. The impressive body is coated in two colors of leather, the predominant reddish leather bringing to mind the bright southern sun of Spain, where this compact was made. The attention to detail is evident also in the six strings stretched so neatly over the frets. A fun compact that seems to symbolize a Spain filled once more with sparkling music.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Late 1940sItalyGold plating over silver

This lipstick case is designed in the style of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a World Heritage Site in northern Italy, which already had been a famous sightseeing spot in the 1940s. The case is designed so as to lean with its arches and cylindrical contours reproduced in fine detail, making it a great piece of work, even as an ornament.

Venus

1939〜1945ItalyEnamel,Sterling Silver

A shell-shaped compact depicting the painting, ""The Birth of Venus,"" by Botticelli printed on it.
Its silver hand-carved decorations are very Italianesque in design, and the underside and inner lid of the compact also tell us that the craftsmen took great pride in their work.

Aztec Silver

1940sMexicoSterling silver

An extraordinarily rare compact with a relief of the sun carved on sterling silver, believed by the Aztecs, native to Mexico, to be a god. When Kanebo Cosmetics Inc. reproduced the compact collections, this motif was used as one of the original templates.

Taj Mahal

Late 1940sIndiaSterling silver,Ruby,Gold plating

This compact includes a motif of the Taj Mahal, built by the 5th emperor of the Mughal Empire, Shah Jahan, for his dearest wife. Through the use of fine decorative art, the luxuriousness of the Taj Mahal's is expressed in its delicate engraving on this sterling silver compact. Its gold plating and five pieces of ruby on top of the towers give off an elegant brilliance.

Map of India

1940sIndiaSterling silver,Ruby

A map of India carved out of silver, with the ocean expressed by the compact's mirror. Delhi, the capital of India at the height of its prosperity, and the main port towns of Karachi, Bombay, Madras, and Kolkata are represented with rubies, shining brightly as they did in their heyday. Women who got their hands on this must have been filled with dreams of a journey to faraway India and hopes of what the new land could bring.

Chinese Dragon

1941ChinaSilver

Chinese silverware from Shanghai. In the 1920s and ‘30s, Shanghai boomed as the Far East's largest city and financial hub. It was also known as the Devil's City and Paris of the Orient, and was home to a flourishing nightclub and entertainment industry. Cosmetics accordingly found early acceptance in Shanghai. The dragon, a motif used in the past to symbolize the Emperor of China, looks almost as if it is guarding the initials “S.A.” in the center.

Japan

1948JapanSilver

With its torii archway, pagoda, pine tree and Mt. Fuji motifs, this compact could really be called “Japan.” You can sense a fascination for Japan also in the very Japanese disregard of the rules of perspective and depiction of distant elements beyond a bank of clouds.

Pink Lady

1940sJapanBrass,Enamel

An eye-catching vermilion and gold compact that goes all out to project a Japanese image with its open fan shape, twin imitation-pearl clasp and folded paper crane and pine needle motifs. The shape of an unfolded fan symbolizes a bright and prosperous future, and this compact may well have been a lucky charm for its owner.

Dancer

1936〜1938ThailandSterling silver

A compact celebrating the traditional Thai pose of a dancer. The Niello technique (carving deep lines on gold and silver, which are then filled with copper and sulfurized, bakes and polish refines) is used to create this exotic compact, offering a texture akin to black enamel.

Elephant & Shiva

1940sThailandSterling silver

This compact celebrates Thai traditions. Niello work is used to draw the holy elephant on the top of the case, and Shiva on the back, with the black lacquer-textured background enhancing the beauty of the silver engraving. Thin with moderate weight, this is an exotic compact. We also have a compact with a dancer design using the same technique.

8 Ball

1940〜1941USABrass,Enamel

A compact in the shape of a billiard ball. The iconic eight ball, which is the only numbered ball in the game of Blackball, and its status within the popular game has coined the expression "behind the eight ball" and is ingrained in modern day culture. Billiards differs from most other sports in the sense that both women and men can play against each other on an equal level, as physical strength and body type offer no advantage. This compact was made in the days when this sport first attracted attention.

Domino

1941USAEnamel,Brass

A compact shaped like a domino piece. Although the origin of the game of dominos remains unclear, it is said to date back to the 3rd century B.C. in China. Dominos has been a popular game in Europe ever since it was introduced to Italy by Marco Polo. This compact is a limited edition, produced only for a year by Coty. Inside, you will find powder and blush. We can only imagine that the owner must have had plenty of cause to redo her makeup in order to keep a straight face while enjoying a splendid game of dominos.

Wooden Floral

1940sUSAWood,Enamel,Metal

An unusual compact made of wood. During WWII, metal was in short supply, and compacts were frequently made of wood or plastic. The texture of this compact is so warm and smooth that it feels almost luxurious, and you would hardly believe it was produced in such hard times.

Button Tufting

1940sUSALeather

A rare compact that uses deep blue leather fashioned in a style that mimics button tufting, a furniture upholstering technique. The use of a zipper also points to the maker's determination to try something different. This is the work of a female artist based in San Diego in the postwar period when people were eager to experiment and invent.

U.S. Navy

Early 1940sUSABrass,Enamel,Rhinestones

A compact of solid design with the U.S. Navy emblem hidden among rhinestones. Although adorned with rhinestones, its modest weight and big shape give off a certain masculine impression. This is a piece of work from the beginning of the war.

Hidden Wish

1941〜1942USACopper

The motif of red and white with a blue star brings to mind the American “Stars and Stripes.” This vanity compact was made from copper, making it heavy. No decorative design was applied to this vanity compact, so you can feel the atmosphere of that time. A picture can be placed behind the mirror that appears when the lid is opened. Women may have wished upon a star for the safety of a loved one who went off to war.

Dressing Table

1940sUSABrass

A dressing table-shaped compact with its top acting as a mirror. The legs fold in for added mobility. Many have sought to create such an exquisite compact that can bring about joy, just by displaying it as a delightful ornament for women of any era. This piece of work expresses the resurgent joy of post-war women.

Silver-Lined

Early 1940sUSASterling Silver

This is a thin and stylishly designed compact. A sticker for return of merchandise remains on the mirror. The sticker reads, “Unreturnable if the sticker is peeled off,” giving us an even more vivid insight into the customers and shopkeepers back then. Although the sticker was left intact on this compact, its well-preserved state makes it clear that it was cherished by its owner.

Brilliant Shell

1940sUSABrass,Rhinestones,Shell

A compact adorned with shell delivering seven different colors and brilliant rhinestones. Although tiny, its weight really shows its value. A powder shaft is delicately placed inside the case so that the powder will not leak from the compact.

Green Gazelle

1940sUSABrass

An eye-catching compact featuring two gazelles springing energetically. The design of the embossed brass lid is an impressive example of the refinement of the late Art Deco period. Our collection contains an item with the same motif, but differing in shape and color.

Yellow Gazelle

1940sUSABrass

This is a compact that leverages the malleability of brass. The lid is completely given over to a lively portrayal of gazelles cavorting against a leafy background. The design shows unmistakable Art Deco influence, and is almost certainly the work of an artist.

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1940's