New at the Mutter: Art Made from Human Hair

The Woven Strands exhibit opens tonight.

Victorian hair art was often made by women as an expression of mourning. (Mutter Museum)

Those Victorians were a macabre sort, weren’t they? Seems like they were always getting together for séances and picnics in cemeteries, and arranging dead pets in dioramas that towed the line between the cute and the hideous. A new exhibition at the Mütter Museum — Woven Strands: The Art of Human Hair Work, which opens tonight, Thursday, January 18 — explores yet another way some 19th century people dealt with death.

Apparently, these folk artists would gather up the locks of loved ones both dead and living and weave them into unique tokens of grief, like wreaths, bouquets and “painted scenes of mourning.” Hair art was usually made by women, and the names of the individual artists are most often lost to time. Woven Strands, on display through July 12, gathers together art and jewelry from six private collections to shine a light on this bygone custom.

Woven Strands Exhibit Opening Night @ Mütter Museum | Thursday, January 18
The exhibit runs through July 12.

Woven Strands: The Art of Human Hair runs through July 12. (Mutter Museum)