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Hair dressing... in modern times


Hairstyle is often associated with dress, personal adornment and jewelry. In the WANA region, a large variety of traditional hairstyles can be found, with different methods of styling, braiding and applying decoration or jewelry items. The hairstyle of a person will tell you about their social position, his of her age, marital status and wealth in the same manner as jewelry and other dress-related items do. 


The activity of styling or braiding hair is often a very social activity. The craft is often practiced within the same sex; men decorate the hair of other men and women do so for other women. Often, hair is braided anew for festive occasions, such as weddings or other rituals. This often follows the practice of wearing new or additional clothing and jewelry.


Tools may also be used by the person dressing the hair. Tresses of hair may be temporarily folded or set aside. This may be done with combs, pins or other instruments. These techniques were also used in ancient times (see image below from the tomb of Neferu). Gels or fats may be used to preserve the hairstyle. Different kinds of fats are used throughout the region. Sometimes butter and even clays is applied. The ends of the braids may be strengthened with clay or fats as well. Often the fats are scented or the hair is scented with - for instance - incense. In Roman times larger tresses of hair or braids were also sewn in order to keep hairstyles in place. 


The images on this page are made by unknown photographers

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