27 November, 2012

Beard Token

A beard tax is one of several taxes introduced throughout history on men who wear beards.
In 1705, Emperor Peter I of Russia instituted a beard tax to modernize the society of Russia following European models. Those who paid the tax were required to carry a "beard token". This was a copper or silver token with a Russian Eagle on one side and on the other, the lower part of a face with nose, mouth, whiskers, and beard. It was inscribed with two phrases: "the beard tax has been taken" and "the beard is a superfluous burden".
You can order your own beard token here

23 November, 2012


Mr. Fořt 1908–1909

Long or extremely long beards were popular especially among intellectuals, scientists and in arty quarters. This beard not only symbolised manhood, but also symbolised dignity. It reminded people of the ancient philosophers, and the protestant pastors, who followed the tradition of the old law prophets. A long beard, especially when worn by an older man, and it was grey or white, clearly demonstrated high intellect and reputation.

21 November, 2012


Franz Schächtl (brother of Ignác) with wife, carte de visite, 1876–1890

20 November, 2012


The “false beard” was always a part of theatrical performances. Historically, it had the role of being the king‘s insignia, such as in Ancient Egypt. It became important in many conspiratorial masks and disguises, for example, by the former criminal, and later, founder of modern criminology, Eugéne F. Vidocq. At the same time, it became a popular fashion article on otherwise beardless men‘s faces.

17 November, 2012


The Sokol gymnastic and youth movement was founded in the Czech lands to demonstrate the increasing political independence of the Czech nation. Sokol’s focus on physical and spiritual “refinement”, and thus “upgrading” the Czech people,was also inspired by Italian revolutionary followers of Giuseppe Garibaldi. This led to the popularity of “Garibaldi-like” beards among Sokol members, and was also promoted by the founders of Sokol, Miroslav Tyrš and Jindřich Fügner.

14 November, 2012


Unidentified person in Sokol garb, collodion negative, 1868–1883

13 November, 2012

12 November, 2012

A popular fashion (similar to the case of Napoleon III) was imitating the wild beard of Maximilian, younger brother of Austrian Emperor Franz Josef I. With French help, Maximilian became Emperor of Mexico, but in the following civil war, his adventurous life was ended by a republican execution squad. His pride in his ginger beard even contributed to his death, when he refused to escape capture by hiding in a nunnery, since shaving off his beard was out of the question.

05 November, 2012

03 November, 2012

01 November, 2012