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A History of the Barbershop - 2/8

The barber, therefore, became the most important man of the tribe as they believed that bad spirits could only be driven out by cutting the hair. During religious ceremonies, the hair was left hanging loosely over the shoulders to allow the bad spirits to depart. Then the hair was cut and tied back tightly in the prevailing fashion, preventing the bad spirits from re-entering and the good spirits from leaving. Wherever legends and superstitions about the hair abounded, barbers flourished.

About 7000 years ago, the Egyptian men of the upper classes not only shaved their beards and heads but also shaved their entire bodies every third day. Their barbers had tweezers and razors in the shape of small hatchets, with curved handles, and they carried their implements in open-mouthed baskets. Tombs from 4000 B.C. show hieroglyphs explaining the use of these tools. Finely chipped obsidian blades fastened securely to slate handles were utilised by the Mesopotamians in 3000 B.C., whilst the Samarians of 2000 B.C. were also clean-shaven.

A sarcophagus design from Crete around 2000 B.C. shows clean-shaven men, and goblets show clean-shaven warriors. In 1230 B.C., Hittite soldiers were beardless, whilst Ramases II wore a tie-on beard over his clean-shaven face, represented by the statue in Luxor, Egypt.


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