Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Photographic Mug & Female Barbers | Samson & Delilah


A lady barber's occupational shaving mug, porcelain with a slightly erotic photographic transfer of a scantily clad female barber preparing to shave a customer, teasingly leaning forward, much to the excitement of the man. Gilt name along foot Magg E. Clifton. The scene on mug was first used in a comic stereoview card. From Prices4antiques.com

Barbers in Seattle joined two gender-separate unions.
These women belonged to the Lady Barbers Union
University of Washington, Special Collections Library

 Wellcome Library, London

Men being shaved and having their hair cut, styled and crimped by various male and female barbers.

 Coloured Etching | 1787
 Wellcome Library, London

A female barber shaving a man; a male assistant standing on the right holds a "puff lather" bowl. [ Note the Samson and Delilah in the background. ]

Copperplate Engraving by Matham | Samson and Delilah | c. 1613

Delilah was approached by the lords of the Philistines, to discover the secret of Samson's strength, "and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver". Three times she asked Samson for the secret of his strength, and three times he gave her a false answer. First he told her "If they bind me with seven green withes that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.". Then he told her "If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.". A third time he told her "If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web". On the fourth occasion he gave her the true reason: that he did not cut his hair in fulfillment of a vow to God; and Delilah, when Samson was asleep on her knees, called up her man to shave off the seven locks from his head, then betrayed him to his enemies: "the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house".

Some consider one of the false secrets given by Samson, that his strength would leave him if his hair were woven into a cloth, to be reminiscent of arcane woman's magic of the art of weaving that is also inherent in the myths of Penelope, Circe, Arachne. 
From Wikipedia: Delilah

The Female Barber | Mezzotint by J. Dixon
 Wellcome Library, London