Art: Rug

In 1698 Peter, Emperor of Muscovy, told the gentlemen of his court to shave off their beards. The commandment had a significance beyond the capillary, for the beards of the Russian nobles were copied from the men who lived to the Eastward; the monarch's bare chin was the outward and visible sign of his detestation of the Orient. A wise man once called Asia the subconscious mind of Europe, and since the beard is to the face what the East is to Western civilization many scholars have thought that Peter was quite right...

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