Bellarmine Museum, Fairfield (CT): Hairstyles of female sculptures in ancient Greece, Cyprus, and Rome

Caryatids from the Erechtheion on the Acropolis. Their hair is braided and falls in a thick rope down the back. Acropolis Museum, Athens. Photo: Carole Raddato / Wikimedia Commons

The exhibition „Hair in the Classical World“ has a look at cutting, curling, coloring, shaping… plus adding pins, beads, and more decorations

In most cultures hair is not worn in its natural state; it is artfully styled or dressed. Cut, combed, colored, curled, and shaped hair – that most universal of physical features – is also frequently adorned with implements or braids and occasionally, further embellished with pins, beads, and other decorations.

The exhibition „Hair in the Classical World“ at the Fairfield University’s Bellarmine Museum (CT) delves into the fascinating subject through a comprehensive cross-cultural examination of hair in ancient Greece, Cyprus, and Rome.

Featuring artifacts from the Bronze Age to late Antiquity, it examines how hair and its treatment were important socio-cultural signifiers in Classical Antiquity through three discrete but inter-related sections: Arrangement and Adornment, Ritual/Rites of Passage, and Divine and Royal Iconography. A scholarly symposium will complement this show.

Caryatids at the Erechtheion. Photo: jacme31 / Wikimedia Commons

A few years ago, Fairfield University saw the Caryatid Hairstyle project in which the hairstyles of the 6 Kore maidens of the Erechtheion were recreated. Dr. Linda Wolk-Simon, the Director and Chief Curator of Fairfield University Museums, is quoted in a report of Greek News: „They are no longer frozen in a distant, remote past on the Acropolis, but become ancient Greek ancestors and ‘sisters’ to young women of today. I find that immediacy a really thrilling and amazing idea to contemplate.“

Hair in the Classical World“, until December 18, 2015


Caryatid Hairstyle Project

Acropolis Museum, Athens

Ancient sculptures in a museum depot give an idea of the large variety of classical hairstyles.Artists of modern sculptures also pay much attention to the haircut of their busts.

(05.11.2015, USA: 11.05.2015)