How Mongols Wore Their Hair

Last Updated on January 25, 2022 by

The beauty and uniqueness of the Mongolian people are reflected in their diverse culture. Their wandering lifestyle had an impact on their lifestyle. At one point in history, the Mongols had the world’s greatest empire. Nearly 9 million people speak Mongolian now, with nations such as China also talking the language. 

However, we shall not discuss their rich history but their many hairstyles through ancient and modern traditional shaving ceremonies. Mongolian clothing culture has evolved since the empire’s prime. They have learned to adapt to current living conditions and their occupations as pastoral nomads.

Now, the men shaved their heads bald on either side and left a strip of hair down the center. They braided the back hair and left it long. In Mongolian culture, the head is the most significant and spiritual portion of the body. You are not permitted to touch someone’s head. Hair belongs to the head; hence it is automatically regarded as valuable.

According to the prehistoric past of the Mongol Empire, distinctive hairstyles and dress were vital signs of ethnic identification and political affiliation. Compared to the Chinese, Mongols may be differentiated by their shaved heads and looped hair behind their ears.

The Mongols revered water, and they never wanted to upset it. That determined how they would style their hair. They would fill their mouths with water, which would drip down into their hands, allowing them to get their hair and wash their heads in this manner.

The Great Mongol Empire

The Great Mongol Empire

When discussing Mongolia, you have probably heard about Genghis Khan, who unified the Mongol tribes and built the world’s greatest empire. Mongolia is home to around 20 distinct tribes. With several tribes like the Khalkha, Naimans, Buryats, and Oirats. 

Each tribe had a unique haircut. During the Manchurian conquest and the formation of the Qing dynasty, they imposed rules that compelled the Chinese to wear Manchurian hairstyles. That explains why some Chinese have haircuts similar to their Mongolian counterparts. 

This demonstrated Han subordination to the Manchurians. To be clear, ‘Manchuria’ most commonly refers to the region of Inner Mongolia and Northeast China, not elsewhere. The haircut entailed shaving the front of the head while maintaining a lengthy braid in the rear. 

Forcing the Han Chinese to cut their hair was a particularly heinous demand because it defied Confucian custom. And when some Han Chinese communities rejected the order, they were slaughtered as a result.

Emperors’ Army

In ancient Mongolia, cutting your hair was a sign of disobedience. Therefore, it was mostly used for identification. The combat is a complicated affair, and unlike in current times, they did not wear uniforms. 

Their hair was separated into two pigtails, which were then divided into three braids each. The ends of their braids would then be wrapped up and tied behind their ears on the top of the braid. 

The Khiyat Mongol soldiers unusually wore their hair. They emulated wild creatures because they played an essential part in Altaic legend. Their haircut was designed to accommodate their heads in helmets and headgear. The number of braids and shaving styles differed from clan to clan.

The Turks shaved their heads and only had hair on their forehead. Men shaved the tops and sides of their heads, leaving only a short lock-in the forehead and lengthy lock hair behind. Similarly, the Kazakhs wore a single braid on top of their hair. 

However, in Asia’s grasslands, you had to wear a hat all the time to protect yourself from the cold and cutting winds; therefore, this aided their way of life. 

Shamans didn’t give a damn about their hair; therefore, it was long and untidy. The hair of a shaman was wild and untamed, but that of a monk was clean-shaven. 

Other tribes’ men and warriors wore their hair in more braids and frequently shaved the forehead or front of the skull. It was sometimes merely a matter of style since Göktürks wore their hair long and unbraided

Modern Army

The Mongolian army’s hairstyle has evolved as a result of modernization. However, in 1991, their uniforms from the reign of Genghis Khan and the Mongol empire were reintroduced into the armed services. They cut their hair in the manner of normal civilization, yet they wear antique empire-era headgear.

Cow Horns Hairstyle

The Mongols believed that haircuts should resemble the wings of an eagle or a garuda bird. The primary feature of a woman’s hairstyle was to imitate the wings of an eagle or the horns of a cow. Other groups might claim they looked like rams or yaks. 

The Khalkha’s married ladies wore their hair to resemble animals. Their emblem of independence and nomadic existence was a cow. In their society, the eagle was a mythological bird. The iconic headpiece was exclusively worn by married ladies of excellent social standing.

The hats were decorated with rank or title emblems and good luck motifs on the tails of the toortsoog. This hairstyle’s construction was quite intricate. Women had their hair neatly pushed back from their faces. 

They affixed decorative felt threads on hairbands. It was built around a tiny silver lace cap to which various silver, coral, and embellishments were connected. The combed hair was then separated into two halves, and bamboo pins were used to construct the wings or horns. Finally, richer Khalkha brides adorned their hair with rows of embroidered brocade coverings.

On rare occasions, they would wear a crown-shaped cap. The hat was composed of velvet with colorful ribbons tied around the back. The arches may be covered with black horsehair to resemble the woman’s hair in rare circumstances.

While these arches are thought to be the only women’s hairstyle, they are by no means the only hairstyles available. They would wear elaborate headdresses consisting of a band and a cap among the Ordos tribes. The front and rear of the headgear were sewed with numerous beads, silver plates, and cushions.

Daah Urgeeh Ceremonies

This was a hair-cutting event for children celebrated by Mongol tribes. Boys were subjected to the ritual when they reached the ages of three or five, while females were subjected to it when they reached the ages of two or four. Before this event, it was customary not to trim the child’s hair at all.

The practices were practiced in ancient times and are being practiced by the Mongols to date. For the youngsters, this was a proud and unforgettable moment. It signaled the end of babyhood and the beginning of childhood. Another critical component was that the event followed the lunar calendar. Boys’ hair was cut on an even year, while girls’ hair was cut on an odd year. Besides, the Mongol tradition believed in odd numbers as arga (method) and even numbers as bilig (wisdom). 

Traditional Buddhist lamas and monks were responsible for advising the community on which years to perform the event. 

If the fortunate date fell between the ages of 5 and 6, it signified that the child’s hair would grow long and never be trimmed again.

There was just one haircut available for transitioning youngsters, and that was a bald head. So they would wear pigtails when they were considerably older and their hair had grown. Pigtails are a helpful technique to keep hair out of the child’s face.

The Mongols’ past is prized and enjoyed by a magnificent culture. They wear and spend their money extravagantly in the nomadic lifestyle. At this stage, the tribes were mostly responsible for the various hairstyles.

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