Saturday 9 November 2013

Leila's Hair Museum * Independence, Missouri

I was knocked sideways when I came across Leila’s Hair Museum - the only hair museum in the world, boasting over 600 hair wreaths and over 2000 pieces of jewellery made of human hair. There is no exact date that can be pinpointed as to when and where hair art began, but it is known to have flourished in the Victorian times and can be traced back to the 12th century. Many pieces were for a memorial purpose; however this art form was also used as a keepsake of a loved one before cameras were invented. Hair was a token of love in these times as well as a remembrance of someone who passed away. The tradition of giving a lock of hair goes back hundreds, and even thousands of years and can be traced from different cultures as well as different time periods. The oldest brooch in the museum, with a piece of hair enclosed in a crystal case, was made in 1680. It arrived in the United States in the 1800s through a family in Sweden. The gentleman, who was the last of his bloodline, sold the brooch to the museum so future generations could admire the masterpiece.

There are many examples of embroidery using human hair such as the ones above.
There are also elaborately wrought wreaths and three-dimensional sculptures in the form of bouquets and devotional subjects. Below you can see specialized tools for working with hair. For more images and details of how to visit, click here.


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