Slovenski etnografski muzej

Locks and plaits of hair – memory with DNA
Datum objave 
24. March 2020

Locks and plaits of hair – memory with DNA

Locks of hair from loved ones are often kept for emotional support and in memory: they offer direct contact with people and times that are no more… a first lock of hair of a small child, snipped off by parents and kept among precious possessions, a curl from the absent loved one in a locket or skilfully woven into a bracelet, and so on.

Souvenir jewellery incorporating a lock of hair was popular as early as the 18th century, while middle class etiquette of the 19th century cites it as a suitable form of mourning jewellery. And last but not least: the story of the cut-off plaits which the young country girl swapped for a short, fashionable urban hairstyle when she moved to town; she kept the plaits wrapped in silk paper in a souvenir box right until her death at a ripe old age. In this way, part of her physical body long outlasted her…

About the photographs:

  • First lock of hair, a memory of one’s own childhood and first year / Ljubljana, 1990s.
  • Girl’s plaits, a preserved remnant of girlhood and life in her birthplace / Ljubljana / after 1947.
  • Bracelet made from human hair as memorial (and mourning) jewellery / Mokronog / late 19th, early 20th century