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Hairdos To Honour Heirs Among Big Wig Tribe

These Chinese girls know the best way to honour their heirs - by keeping them on their heads. Instead of throwing away their hair when they comb it, women who are part of China's Long-horn Miao minority instead save the strands and add them to their collection of hair that allows them to create spectacular hairdos. Every time there is a big occasion, the special hairpieces come out and are carefully woven around a horn-shaped headdress that is first fitted to the head of the young woman. Although there are now less than 5000 people in the Miao minority, they are big on tradition as these snaps show which were taken in village of Suojia, in Liupanshui city in southwest China's Guizhou province. Every wig is passed down from mother to daughter and includes not just yarn and twine but also the hair from a line of female ancestors which the owners of the headdresses claim go back hundreds of years. It is dyed and carefully maintained to keep it shiny and healthy. Chinese expert in minority cultures, Shu Tu, 27, said: "The wigs are worn on all sorts of big occasions from weddings through to feast days, and traditionally they also used to be worn by the men but it seems as if it was at the end of the day too much effort for the menfolk -- and they gradually dropped the tradition. But it continued among the women and the hairdos that they have now include hair not only from the mother and grandmother but probably even the great-grandmother and even older -- all woven together. It's regarded as a living way for them to honour their ancestors. Every time a woman combs her hair, she collects it, and she hands it to her daughter when her daughter marries. "It probably originated with the wearing of the horns as the cow was a sacred animal in the past for people in this rural area, but this no doubt developed from a desire to decorate the horns and to honour not only the animal itself but also ancestors." She added: "For some people, their history is in books. However, for the Miao, their history is on their heads."

austriantimes.com


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