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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Mementos of Affection

Cincinnati Art Museum / Cincinnati / Art

“Mementos of Affection” is a special taste. But if you’re susceptible, this slideshow exhibition is for you. Hairwork is associated with mourning and the memento mori (remember death). The dead beloved’s hair, arranged artfully in glass-fronted brooches and lockets, is a form of reliquary long associated with the Victorians, but in play since the 1600s. And yet, hairwork was not only about death. It was also about love. The works in this little exhibition express love for the living—romantic partners, children, families. Hair is worked into images from nature that are symbolic of charity, purity, and eternity. Rural and classical scenes are created from hair curled or finely chopped, gold wire, and the tiniest pearls imaginable. Loops of hair in openwork braid are fashioned into airy earrings and necklaces. If you didn’t know this jewelry was made of hair, you’d never guess it. In short, human ingenuity is amazing. —L.J.

Cincinnati Art Museum 953 Eden Park Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45202, United States
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