CURIOUS HEADGEAR

Holy Writ simply teems with allusions to the luxurious tresses of the fair
daughters of the East, and there is little doubt that at an early period in the
world's history women awakened to the fact that a well-tired head was a very
potent attraction, and had a recognised market value. Jewish women were
particularly famed in this respect, and employed female barbers, who, with the
aid of crisping pins, horns, and towers, prepared their clients for conquest. These
jewelled horns were generally made of the precious metals, and the position
denoted the condition of the wearer. A married woman had it fixed on the right
side of the head, a widow on the left, and she who was still an unappropriated
blessing on the crown. Over the horn the veil was thrown coquettishly, as in the
illustration. Assyrian women delighted in long ringlets, confined by a band of
metal, and the men were not above the weakness of plaiting gold wire with their
beards. Rimmel, in "The Book of Perfumes," relates a curious anecdote of
Mausolus, King of Caria, who turned his people's fondness for flowing locks to
account when his exchequer required replenishing. "Having first had a quantity
of wigs made and stored in the royal warehouses, he published an edict
compelling all his subjects to have their heads shaved. A few days after, the
monarch's agents went round, offering them the perukes destined to cover their
denuded polls, which they were delighted to buy at any price". It is not
surprising that Artemisia could not console herself for the loss of such a clever
husband, and that, not satisfied with drinking his ashes dissolved in wine, she
spent some of her lamented lord's ill-gotten revenue in building such a
monument to his memory that it was counted one of the wonders of the world.

The Egyptians were also partial to wigs, some of which are still preserved in the
British Museum. Ladies wore a multitude of small plaits and jewelled
head-pieces resembling peacocks and other animals, which contrasted with their
dark tresses with brilliant effect; or a fillet ornamented with a lotus bud. The
coiffure of a princess was remarkable for its size and the abundance of animal,
vegetable, and mineral treasures with which it was adorned. In Egyptian tombs
and elsewhere have been discovered small[Pg 16] wooden combs resembling the
modern tooth-comb, and metal mirrors of precisely the same shape as those in
use at the present day, as well as numerous other toilet appliances.

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