Harper’s Weekly, March 10, 1888, page 167 (Illustrated Article)
The barber holds a far higher status in China than among the Caucasians. His position in the Orient is very similar to that enjoyed there centuries ago by the chirurgeon of Merrie England. He is dentist, aurist, dermatologist, barber, cupper, and leech, all combined. Unlike his American cousin, he is compelled to pass through a long apprenticeship, and not until he has been examined and graduated is he allowed to practice his craft. In the New York Mongolian colony there are five accredited barbers. Of these the acknowledged head is Ah Lee Chung, who has a queer little shop on the second floor of 22 Mott Street. The visitor enters, and finds himself in a narrow room, not more than ten feet wide and twenty long. On the mantel-piece opposite the entrance a joss-stick slowly burns itself away in fragrant smoke in honor of Buddha, while over it, in comical contrast, hangs a cheap lithograph which reads, "God Bless Our Home." At the end of the apartment is a two-storied bunk, where customers repose while waiting for their turn. A narrow passageway leads past the bunks into a series of rear rooms from which float the odors of Chinese cooking, Canton tobacco, and now and the unmistakable fumes of opium.

An Ear Shave
March 10, 1888, page 161

Shaving in Lee Chung’s establishment is no simple matter. The proprietor, dignified and successful, is in no hurry, and usually requires considerable persuasion before he will gratify a Fah-Kee (American) customer. The latter is seated upon a high stool, and sometimes upon a straight-backed, uncomfortable chair. A cloth is next tied about the neck. This is not the familiar stiff towel of New York barber shops, but a soft and tenuous shawl-like square of red silk. The face and neck are washed, or rather sponged, with lukewarm water slightly scented with musk, rose, or some other perfume, and then dried with a second silk napkin. The shaving resembles our own, the razor employed being the ordinary Sheffield make. The brush, however, is different, being a curious little affair, very much like the average tooth-brush. The operator lathers two or three square inches at a time without any rubbing, shaves of the growing hairs, and then lathers a second patch of skin. After the face and throat have been scraped in this piecemeal way, the temples and back of the neck are shaved, and the eyebrows trimmed to the shape demanded by Mongolian fashion. The next stage of the treatment is decidedly peculiar. From a black shagreen case the barber produces an ear-razor, a pair of tweezers, horn scrapers and cotton brushes. The ear-razor is a narrow blade of highly tempered steel, five inches long and less than a quarter of an inch in width. The tweezers are compass-like in shape, and nearly a foot in length. The scrapers resemble miniature shepherd hooks, and have neither point nor edge. While the brushes are a duplicate of our aurilaves, substituting balls of fresh cotton for our little sponges. With the ear-razor the ear is shaved on both the outside and inside.
Words fail to describe the skill and delicacy with which a Chinese barber shaves the ear. The narrow blade sweeps round, cutting hair, down, and dead skin, and ever going deeper in toward the end of the auditory passage. With the scrapers he then removes the débris and all dirt blown in by the wind. Lastly the cotton brushes are applied, and the ear rubbed and polished until it is smooth, warm, and pink. The sensation, strange to say, is extremely pleasant. The third stage consists in removing the hairs that grow in the nostrils. The last stage is a Chinese version of the Swedish movement cure, in which the muscles of the face, scalp, neck, and shoulders are kneaded, pinched, rubbed, pushed, and pulled until they are moist and almost sore. Then the arms and trunk are taken in hand in about the same style, the fingers "cracked," and the head and body pushed and twisted into a hundred different positions. A mild patting with the muscular hands of the operator completes the operation, which lasts anywhere from ten to thirty minutes, and whose cost is well summed up in Lee Chung’s own words: "’Melican man velly foolish—chalge ten cent fol shave. Italy man no good, only fivee cent. Chinee man gemmelman—chalge twenty-five and fifty cent and one dollah."
Harper’s Weekly, March 10, 1888, page 167 (Illustrated Article)

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