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One of the best things about acquiring old collections is the lengths that antiquarians (often the local vicar) went to recording their finds. These lovely Roman bronze tweezers bear an inner label stating the find spot "Cartham? Rd Cambridge 1912". How they managed to write these tiny labels I'll never know? Provenance!

An essential item for every self-respecting Roman were tweezers. Personal appearance and hygiene were very important, particularly during the early Roman period and the removal of body hair was foremost in this respect. Romans kept themselves looking well groomed with the help of tweezers. These lovely Roman artefacts are almost exclusively made from bronze and come in a variety of designs. They turn up frequently in the archaeological record and are readily available Roman antiquities for sale.

Roman tweezers (Latin name vulsella) were used mostly for removing body hair and depilation. Both women and men underwent this often painful process of plucking body hair, with the tweezers applied to even arms and legs. Of course wealthy Romans didn't pluck, their servants did it, usually as part of the bathing process, between scraping warm oil off bathers with a strigil.

Tweezers were usually attached to a chatelaine and then to a belt. They formed part of a set of cosmetic tools that included an ear cleaner and a nail cleaner/toothpick.

Condition: Good.

Dimensions: Length: 46mm.

Provenance: Originally from an Edwardian private collection, thence by descent.


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