Thursday, December 31, 2009
There is evidence that hair wigs were first used by Egypians around 3000 BC. In the hot climate, lice and other hair vermin proliferated, so the Egyptians learned to shave their heads and replace their real hair with elaborate wigs--fancy, braided, sculptural works of hair art affixed to their bare scalps with beeswax. This bust of a young woman (called Meritaten), from a collection in the Louvre, is just one example.
When it comes to bald heads in the 21st Century, if we aren't going for the look intentionally, the loss of hair can be debilitating. This is especially true for men, around 40 million of whom suffer from genetic baldness. Some men are desperate enough to try the combover. Others opt for the toupée.
These days, due to hair replacement therapy, etc., toupées are waning in popularity, but they're definitely still with us, for which I'm glad. For one thing, they're an endless source of entertainment. Toupées can blow away in a strong wind, or get knocked askew, or be irresistible to the practical joker. William Shatner's toupée is the subject of an entire blog .
What's creepiest for me is not when the toupée is on , but when it's off. Doesn't it look alive? Imagine coming across one in the dark, or in the back of a cabinet. Totally wiggin'.
While I don't wear a wig, I'm drawn to the idea, especially to hair as art. On Mathilda's Anthropology Blog you can find more examples of Egyptian wigs. Hair art--in a big way. I love it.