In our modern society, hair plays an important role in helping individuals to identify themselves. What is surprising is that this has always been the case, even for ancient generations in a variety of different cultures.
From now until July 14, 2013, the Musée du Quai Branly is attempting to unravel a bit of the mystery that surrounds hair and hairstyles. During this time, guests staying at one of the Grand Hôtels Parisiens can visit the museum’s exhibition entitled ‘The Art of Hair.’
With this exhibition, the museum hopes to answer some of the pressing questions related to the anthropological and cultural importance of hair: Why is it so important? What does it symbolize? Does it mean the same thing to everybody?
By first addressing what might seem like trivial differences in hair color and style, the exhibit reveals key issues about our perceptions of hair. This is done through various paintings, photographs and sculptures that each show their subjects’ hair in a different light. Even more interesting than comparing perceptions of hair within a single culture (like the Western culture, for example) is comparing hair among different cultures. For this reason, the Musée du Quai Branly provides visitors with the chance to see ideals of hair in many forms — from high fashion runways to the villages of Papua New Guinea to the cities of Africa.
Hair is more than just a facet of someone’s physical appearance; it can also symbolize life experience and age. Just as long hair can represent both beauty and wisdom, loss of hair may remind us of aging and illness.
No matter what form it is in, hair has taken on a mythical, magical status in cultures around the world, and ‘The Art of Hair’ enables visitors to better discover this universally treasured feature of human existence.