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Metal - Late nineteenth to early twentieth century

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Metal razors from the Democratic Republic of the Congo

This set of two metal razors is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They were probably used by women to shave their husbands. Metal was an important store of wealth in the Congo during the colonial era and these razors may have been made with either local metal or imported sheet metal brought to the region by Europeans for use in trade.

The razors were brought to Reading by John and William Forfeitt. They both travelled to what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo for the Baptist Missionary Society, the former as Secretary and the latter as a Missionary. It is likely objects such as this were collected as curios, given up by locals who had been converted to Christianity, or brought back to Britain for use in missionary exhibitions and fundraising talks. The Forfeitts had links to significant Reading families and businesses - both worked for Suttons Seeds before their mission with the BMS, and William Forfeitt married a daughter of the Collier family.

Museum object number REDMG : 1945.66.1-2

See related topic: World Collection: Belief

See related topic: World Collection: Reading Missionaries