Chicago Tribune -- February 02, 1890Shaved by the Heathen
HOW THE CHINESE OF CHICAGO ARE MADE UP SUNDAY
INSIDE OF A "TONSORIAL FLAYED" ON CLARK STREET
ONE MAN DOES ALL THE WORK
HIS RAZOR RESEMBLES A MEAT AX
THE CUSTOMER STRETCHED AND FLAYED AS A PART OF THE PROCESS
THE CELESTIAL SHAMPOO
THE BARBER IS ALSO A CHIROPODIST
A HALF HOUR FOR FACH CUSTOMER2
Perhaps to no alien has been given so much newspaper space as to the China-man. Column after column has been written about his New Year entertainments, funerals, and gambling-dens, but as yet nothing has appeared that would throw light upon the Chinese tonsorial parlor.
According to history the ancient Chinese, like the inhabitants of most Eastern countries, wore long hair, but Tartar conquerors, though allowing them to retain their laws and religion, compelled then to shave the head and face as a badge of servitude, allowing no man under 40 years of age to grow either a beard or mustache, a small tuft of hair at the crown of the head being all that was permitted to flourish. However the feelings of the Tartars were so respectful to the dead that they never extended this order to a house of mourning. Time eventually healed the sorrow and humiliation wrought by this despotic edict, so that finally the custom was adopted by the entire Chinese Empire, and now its origin is nearly obliterated. Thousands of barbers perambulate the streets in China, twanging a pair of long iron tweezers to indicate that they are at leisure.3
In Canton alone there are more than 8,000 of these wanderers who are all under the strictest surveillance, a severe penalty being inflicted to any one who practices the art without license. But here in Chicago it is quite different.
THEY SHAVE ON SUNDAY
A Tribune reporter learned from a laundryman that Sunday was the day they shave, and accordingly he set out last Sunday for the laundry in the basement of No. 315 South Clark Street. It was about 10 o'clock in the morning when he reached the place, and quite a number of Mongolians were collected round a table smoking pipes that savored of onions. The reporter, after saluting the proprietor of the establishment, seated himself at the stove, and about a half hour after,the door was opened and another Chinaman entered, carrying a curiously shaped box under his arm, which he deposited in a back room. Presently he reappeared with his hat and coat removed and his sleeves rolled up, apparently ready for business. Shortly after,he reentered the room accompanied by one of the smokers. The reporter followed.4
First the barber beat the body of the "patient" with his hands (the same as in the "movement cure"). Then the arms and legs were stretched by violent jerks, giving the reporter the impression that they were being dislocated, and finally the barber pulled the man's arms and pushed his head in the opposite direction, making the latter grunt. Then the "patient's" fingers were cracked, and after a repetition of the "movement cure", the instruments, which are made of slip horn, were brought into use. The earspoon preceded a syringe, which was followed by several small instruments being turned about, one after another, under the eye-lids, which of course made the tears flow freely. Then the face was gone over with a pair of tweezers, with which any straggling hairs that might have been overlooked during the shaving were pulled out.
The performance did not last more than half an hour, and was brought to a close by the "patient's" toe and finger nails being pared. Although a great many Chinamen shave their own faces there are eighty-three barbers in Chicago who are making more money than than average laundryman, and who work only on Sunday.
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