Currently reading : The eyelash in history
”Eye lashes are the beautiful decoration of the eyes. Sprouting from the eyelids, and helping to protect the eyes, they also suggestively frame them. They give them an intention, an expression, they transmit the meaning of our deep insight. That is the reason why, since the most remote antiquity, eyelashes have been the concern for the beauty of the facial expression”
www.eyelashesinhistory.com is a strange website set out as a fake book of which you can turn the pages chronologically through the many different meanings that the eyelash has portrayed through time. The home page plays a very nice song as well as telling you about different kinds of infections that eyelashes can endure.
My favourite page in the book is the one that explaining the significance of the eyeash in the middle ages:
During the Medieval period, and even in the Renaissance and until the 18th century, eyelashes were not styled.Women, in general, removed eyelashes and eyebrows in order to give more importance to the forehead, which was the most important feature in females’ faces at that time.
Women were not supposed to exhibit their hair in public, and through several ecclesiastical edicts, the Catholic Church condemned that practice as an offense to God and the church, and a sin. It obviously included eyebrows and eyelashes. In general, the use of make up in women’s face was left only for prostitutes.
Hair, in women, was regarded as an erotic feature. During the Middle Ages, more prohibitions were issued and less hair was revealed.
Which made me think of this detail from the painting by Petrus Christus, Portrait of a Young Woman (detail), Netherlandish, c. 1470.