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Oblique Chignon

Oblique Chignon.jpg Vertical ChignonThumbnailsTwo ladies in the crowd at the parkVertical ChignonThumbnailsTwo ladies in the crowd at the parkVertical ChignonThumbnailsTwo ladies in the crowd at the park

It requires from twenty-five to thirty years for an Ishogo woman to be able to build upon her head one of their grotesque head-dresses. The accompanying picture will show you how they look. But you will ask how they can arrange hair in such a manner. I will tell you : A frame is made, and the hair is worked upon it ; but if there is no frame, then they usd grass-cloth, or any other stuffing, and give the shape they wish to the head-dress. A well-known hair-dresser, who, by the way, is always a female, is a great person in an Ishogo village, and is kept pretty busy from morning till after-noon. It takes much time to work up the long wool on these negroes' heads, but, when one of these heads of hair, or chignons, is made, it lasts for a long time—sometimes for two or three months—without requiring repair. I need not tell you that after a few weeks the head gets filled with specimens of natural history.

A great quantity of palm oil is used in dressing the hair, and, as the natives never wash their heads, the odor is not pleasant. When a woman comes out with a newly-made chignon, the little Ishogo girls exclaim, "When shall I be old enough to wear one of these? How beau-tiful they are!"

Every morning, instead of taking a bath, the Ishogos rub themselves with oil, mixed with a red dye made from the wood of a forest tree.

The Country of the Dwarfs
By Paul Belloni Du Chaillu
Published in 1872
Available from books.google.com