This weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Afro Comb day (Origins of the Afro comb) at the Peterie Museum, UCL. The first I heard about the Afro Com exhibition was from Crystal Afro of UnitedKinkdom on twitter. I didnt know much about it so initially I wasnt going to go. However on the Saturday, I decided to find out a little be of information about and after checking out the UCL website, I decided to go and have a look because its not everyday that there is an exhibition that relates directly to me.
The Origins of the Afro Comb exhibition is a collaboration between the Petrie Museum (Egyptian Archaeology) in London and the Fitzwilliam museum (Archaeology and Anthropology) in Cambridge. in 2013 there will bean exhibition in Cambridge showcasing hair combs and their use in the African Diaspora over a period of 5000 years.
Before we looked at the exhibition, there was a group interview where bloggers/vloggers talked about various topics. These varied from what combs they used presently on their hair, what was their earliest hair memory and to what the afro comb means to them and if its important for future generations to learn about topic such as the origins of the afro comb and whether it was relevant or not. I found the group interview very insightful because regardless of our different backgrounds, we all have experiences we could relate to. Sometimes on your natural journey, its easy to feel alone and like its an uphill battle. However talking to like minded people shows you that your experiences are not unique and they are others like you,who know where you are coming from.
After the group discussion, we looked around at the exhibition. Most of the combs were found buried in tombs so they were well preserved. The earliest afro come is approx 5500 years old (crazy huh) The earlier combs were made out of bone (hippopotamus) or ivory. These combs had animal handles, especially birds and in particular, the two headed bird. They also has wider teeth. These resemble the ‘modern’ afro pick.
However, archaeologist have noted a difference between earlier combs and later combs as later combs are made out of wood instead of bone and seem to lack the animal imagery their predecessors have. This could be due to the fact that religion was introduced (Christianity and Islam as these combs were found in Egypt) and it is thought to have been frowned upon to have animal imagery as it was associated with traditional beliefs. Also the space between the teeth decreased and it is thought some of these were used to remove lice and lice have actually been found between the teeth of some of the combs. These combs resemble the finer toothed combs. Its interesting how the design of the double sided comb is still present today.
After the tour we had a chance to have a one to one audio interview that would become part of the exhibition. The gentleman asked a series of questions like background, earliest hair memory, mother hair, self esteem/peer pressure to name a few. The interview was unexpectedly deep as it got me thinking about some of the experiences I’ve faced in my life and reminded me why I wanted to go natural in the first place.
All in all it was a great day. I met so many lovely ladies who I learnt a lot from (you can find most of their links in the blogroll at the bottom of the page), plus i learnt some interesting things about the origins of the afro comb. It is definitely an exhibition to look out for and attend in 2013 🙂