The University of Cambridge is staging a mayor exhibition exploring the 6,000-year history of the afro comb and the politics of black hair. The fascinating display charts the inception of the comb in Ancient Egypt through to its ascendancy as a political emblem post-1960s.
“What we know from the early hair combs is they were connected to status, group affiliation, cultural and religious beliefs,” says curator Sally-Ann Ashton. “In more recent times, the ‘black fist’ comb that references the black power salute has wider political connotations.”
The material is being showcased at 2 university sites: The Fitzwilliam Museum, and alongside life-size installations created by artist Dr. Michael McMillan at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA). Items on display at Fitzwilliam include hundreds of combs from pre-dynastic Egypt to contemporary picks. Some interesting artifacts include a 5,500-year-old comb from Southern Egypt and the original black fist…
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