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Three papyri dating from the first 80 years after the Arab conquest record the Arab authorities in Egypt punishing some Egyptian officials by shaving off their hair and beards. Literary sources confirm that in this period the Arab authorities ordered the shaving off of the beards of the native...
This article examines the tensions between normative discourses on gender and the hair on top of the head, and actual practices in Egypt from the late Roman to the Fāṭimid period. Early Church Fathers preached a clear gender binary, naturalised through oppositions in hair, but reality was often...
Innumerable erotic epigrams, even anthologies, on the cheek-down or “peach fuzz” (ʿidhār or khaṭṭ) of adolescent boys have been composed in Arabic. This article will ignore them (they have been studied before, notably by Thomas Bauer). Instead, it will deal with texts – predominantly poems,...
What is the body language of creativity? Hair, it is argued in this paper, plays a key role in the body language of creativity. The discussion of the ways in which pre-modern Arabic writings visualize the body in action at moments of creativity will be anchored in Kitāb al-aghānī’s description...
This essay takes hair’s cultural salience for granted and uses this to explore the interconnectedness of various spheres of social and intellectual life in the Iranian world during the fourteenth century CE. I show that hair’s connotations are varied and often contradictory, and its physical and...
Discussion of hair and beards in the early medieval West is dominated by the wearing of long hair by the Merovingians, and by the debate about the tonsure. Narrative sources and Roman Law provide evidence on the social and ethnic meaning of hair and beards, but the most substantial body of...
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