Friday, February 5, 2016

Hair Wreath

Last weekend, Ward and I decided we wanted to get out of the house for the afternoon. Recently, our outing of choice has been a hike. However, with snow and rain, we guessed the woods were too muddy/snowy for us, so we visited a local historic museum.

Living within an hour or two of Washington, DC and Baltimore, we have MANY very significant museums and monuments to visit as well as current government workings such as the Library of Congress or the Capitol. And much of it is free. Thus, sometimes the smaller local offerings get overlooked. Our recent visit was to one of those.

We toured a house built in 1815. In many ways, this house was like others we have visited. There was a grand entry way and a decorative dining room that was built to impress. The bedrooms were filled with fireplaces, four poster beds, and chamber pots.

However, there was one thing in this house that I don't remember seeing before--a hair wreath (just like it sounds, a wreath made out of hair). Even though they were common during Victorian times and there are quite a few still around, awareness of them somehow escaped me.  I had seen a lock of hair incorporated into a piece of jewelry but not something this large and intricate.

At first, I thought this was a wreath of dried plants instead of hair.

The wreaths were often used to remember a deceased family member, however the one we saw was used to commemorate a wedding. It included hair from several different family members as was often the case. It also won a ribbon at the county fair which I think was well deserved for the intricate work I saw.

The hair was often worked around wire.

I've just touched on the tip of the iceberg of this whole world of hair wreaths and I'm not sure how I feel about them. It seems a little odd by today's standards.  For now, I think I'm content to just have my hair woven into a bird's nest. :)

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