Head-shaving Razor

unknownRepublic of Korea/Joseon Dynasty

National Folk Museum of Korea

National Folk Museum of Korea

Ibal refers to the act of cutting and trimming hair, and the various items of a barber’s equipment are collectively called ibalgigu. Trimming hair is also referred to as iyong, which includes facial grooming. Ibalso or iyongwon are shops specializing in hairdressing, and provide not only haircuts but also shaving. In the Joseon Dynasty, the prevalence of Confucian thought reasoned that hair is a precious part of the body inherited from one’s parents. For that reason, hair was generally kept long by braiding it or putting it up in a topknot, and therefore, hairdressing equipment did not develop. However, razors used to shave the heads of Buddhist monks remain. Western hairstyles and hairdressing techniques were introduced around time of the implementation of the ordinance prohibiting topknots in November 1895 (32nd year of King Gojong’s reign). Scissors and combs were the most common hairdressing tools. The pair of scissors shown here has two crossed blades, with a handle for the fingers on one side of each blade. The comb was used together with scissors for cutting hair, and contained thin, flat teeth. A pair of hair clippers was also used for haircuts, using two crossed saw blades to cut hair. It is also called barikang, which originated from Bariquant de Marre, the French company that manufactured this equipment. In addition, a barber shop would not be complete without barber chairs. The chair shown here has armrests, a back, a height-adjustable headrest, and a footrest. In addition, the chair can be leaned backward for shaving, while the angle was controlled by a rotating handle at the side. Shaving tools include razors and shaving brushes that apply shaving foam. Various tools such as scrubbers and water pots were used to wash and dry hair after a haircut.

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  • Title: Head-shaving Razor
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date Created: Republic of Korea/Joseon Dynasty
  • Location: 한국
  • Physical Dimensions: Length 14.5 Breadth 5.5
  • Type: Housing/Daily Supplies/Family Heirloom Item/Sanitary Appliances/Hair Appliance
  • Medium: Metal/Copper alloys