‘Dragging Seventy Little Plaits of Her Across the Land of the Altai’: Haircare, Hairstyles, and Hair Ornaments of the Southern Altaians from Historical and Cultural Perspectives
|hair, hairstyles, hair ornaments, Southern Altaians, anthropology of the body
|Type of Article
|HEJZLAROVÁ, Tereza a RYCHLÍK, Martin. ‘Dragging Seventy Little Plaits of Her Across the Land of the Altai’: Haircare, Hairstyles, and Hair Ornaments of the Southern Altaians from Historical and Cultural Perspectives. Annals of the Náprstek Museum. Prague: National Museum, 2021, 42(2), 31–48. DOI: https://doi.org/10.37520/anpm.2021.007. ISSN 0231-844X (print), 2533-5685 (online). Also available from: https://publikace.nm.cz/en/periodicals/annals-of-the-naprstek-museum/42-2/dragging-seventy-little-plaits-of-her-across-the-land-of-the-altai-haircare-hairstyles-and-hair-ornaments-of-the-southern-altaians-from-historical-and-cultural-perspectives
This study deals with haircare, hair ornaments, hairstyles, and hairrelated rituals of the Southern Altaians (Altai Kizhi, Telengits) and their development over time. Haircare has played an important role in Altaian society for centuries. It has been a ritual symbol, an indicator of gender, age, marital or social status. In context, hair has played a significant cultural and social role across societies and historical periods around the world. For this reason, haircare has also been sometimes included among the so-called cultural or human universals, i.e. phenomena that are common to all known human cultures in time and space.
The source of information for this study was the authors’ own field research, relevant literature and visual sources documenting the broader context of haircare. The issue is viewed from historical and cultural perspectives, with the main focus on the current haircare of the Altaian people in connection with changes compared to the past. The study focuses on selected phenomena that proved to be the most important in the field research in terms of their existence and the role they currently play in Altaian society. It does not therefore aim to cover the full breadth of the topic, but leaves room for further research on sub-topics.