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Origins of the Afro Comb Exhibition

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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Where Would Hair Be Without a Comb?
Have you ever imagined what state your hair might be in if you did not have a comb to brush it every day? We would be in a right old tangle that's for sure. But while we might be upset for aesthetic reasons, in African culture, hair is far more important than just about looking beautiful. Throughout their history, hair has acted as a status symbol, denoted religious beliefs, group affiliation, and been part of rituals. For something that important, a good comb is needed.

If you don't mind travelling out of London, then you will find an interesting exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Origins of the Afro Comb explores six thousand years of African identity, politics, and cultural history.

Until the 3rd November, you can admire hundreds of beautiful ancient combs dating from the pre-dynastic Egyptians to modern-day designs such as black fist combs, which represent the Black Power Movement.

There will also be sculptures depicting different types of hairstyles, an interactive gallery, and personal stories. If you have any combs or hairstyles that are of importance to you, then the museum invites visitors to bring along photographs, which will be added to their archives for future exhibits.
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Why? Learn something about African culture
When: Until 3rd Nov
Phone: 01223 332900
Where: Fitzwilliam Museum
Cost: Free
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