COMBS AND HAIRSTYLE

Head ornaments are closely linked to hair.

Feminine hair has fostered fantasies, seduction and eroticism.

Contact with it transfers a kind of sensuality to combs. As a result, they were often given to women as a love token.

Samson's hair reminds us of the strength and influence of the individual.

Hair is one of the few parts of the body that can be given to others (i.e. ex-voto braids, children's locks kept in memory or hair from soldiers to their mothers before they went to war).

Many monks and nuns sacrifice their hair as a sign of purification or abnegation.  On the contrary, people like the Sikks (from Penjab) never cut their hair for other religious reasons. They hold it up with a special wooden comb, under their turban.

That's why hair ornaments are so important and their shape goes with the hairstyle.

Our intention is not to produce a history of hairstyle (see the bibliography for this) but to combine pieces of this collection with pictures of the time when they were worn.

The beginning of photography in the nineteenth century enables us  to provide documents about their uses; old cabinet cards are valuable documents today. From previous centuries, we only have paintings or sketches.

Images: 
Long hair, 1970
Long hair, 1870
Indian comb, silver, wood. 1970
Worn by an Indian lady, 1990
Japanese set, 1980
Worn by a geisha. 1995
Spanish mantilla comb, 1950
Worn by a Spanish lady 1960
Woven fibres. Guinea. 1970.
Worn by a Guinean man. (Photo Bernatzik) 1920
Celluloid comb, 1920
Worn by a British lady. 1920