As mustaches are being a new hot trend in nowadays fashion and design, and Hungary being a typical mustache-bearing nation, we thought to bring you a short intro on the origin and fashion of mustaches from the ancient ages to the present.
It is interesting that however the French word Moustache or Mustache has its first origin from the Hellenistic Greek word ‘mustax’, mustak meaning upper lip or facial hair, the ancient Greeks and Romans actually had never worn mustaches only: they have worn either mustaches with beard, either none. The oldest portrait showing a shaved man with a moustache is an ancient Iranian (Scythian) horseman from 300 BC, but shaving was probably used in even older ages. Shaving predates history, but it was the early Egyptian men and women who really established shaving and hair removal as a regular part of daily grooming.
The World Beard and Moustache Championships 2007 defined the mustaches in 6 sub-categories: Natural, Hungarian, Dalí, English moustache, Imperial, Freestyle.
In some cases, the moustaches are so prominently identified with a single individual that it could be identified with him without any further identifying traits, such as some well-known politicans, emperors, dictators, kings, movie actors, and more.
Moustaches have long been used by artists to make characters distinctive, for example Hercule Poirot. They have also been used to make a social or political point as with Marcel Duchamp’s parody of the Mona Lisa which adds a goatee and moustache; or the moustachioed self portraits of Frida Kahlo. Moustache was also the alias name of a French comic actor.
In the Western cultures women generally avoid the growth of facial hair. In rare circumstances, women may choose to embrace this growth, often in the form of thin moustaches. Mexican artist Frida Kahlo famously depicted herself in her artwork with both a moustache. This tradition is followed by some contemporary women in the arts.
Various cultures have developed different associations with moustaches. For example, in many 20th-century Arab countries, moustaches are associated with power, beards with Islamic traditionalism, and lack of facial hair with more liberal, Western political tendencies.
Hungarian moustache has a significant tradition, and already the Hun conquestors were following the fashion of wearing moustache. Even the main pillar of Kisbény (Hungarian town) says: „Moustache is a must for a Hungarian man!”. Many famous poets, writers, revolutionaries and soldiers have worn moustaches in the XVII-XVIII centuries as well. Interesting fact is that in the XVII Century there was a distinct difference between wearing a moustache and a beard, for example in Transylvania moustache was worn by young (unmarried) men, while beard by the married, mature men.
The last century have „fabricated” different types of moustaches in Hungary: the hussar-moustache, the downward melancholic Madach-moustache, the well-known big and bushy catfish-mustache, or the stilted upward Vilmos-moustache – for the latest one the barber of the German emperor had created a binding accessory that guaranteed the form of the moustache even if worn during the night.
After the I. World War the English-moustache replaced the previous ones, and was worn by many famous movie stars. There are numerous slang terms for the moustache, you can choose any: Bristle batons, Bro-stache, Crumb Catcher, Face-lace, Grass grin, Lip Shadow, Monometer, Mouthbrow, Moz, Mr. Tickles, Tea strainer, Upper lipholstery, Whiskers, Wing & more….
Enjoy our photo gallery about versatility and revival of moustaches!