Chinese men's traditional hair styles were rich in diversity and cultural symbolism. They were not merely aesthetic choices but carried significant meanings related to status, profession, and societal roles. The hair styles were a vital aspect of one's identity, reflecting historical, regional, and personal influences.
In ancient times, it was a common belief that hair, being a gift from one's parents, should not be damaged or cut. Keeping hair intact was a way to show respect to one's parents, a fundamental concept in Confucianism.
In various dynasties before the Qing Dynasty, when the Queue hairstyle was enforced, marking a departure from previous traditional hair styles, Han Chinese men would keep their hair long and bundled up in a bun or a topknot. Different styles could also signify different social statuses and roles in society.
Scholars typically wore their buns in a more polished and neat manner where the bun would often be tightly wound and placed high on the head. Scholars also often wore caps over the bun and elegant hairpins, encapsulating Confucian ideals of order and intellect
Martial artists' hair styles were focused on practicality, functionality, and physical readiness. Their buns were often tighter and closer to the head to prevent them from coming undone during martial practices. Martial artists might also use headbands to keep their hair and sweat away from their faces.
Coming-of-Age Ceremony (Ji Li or Guan Li): In traditional Chinese culture, young men would often undergo a coming-of-age ceremony, where they would start to wear their hair in a bun, symbolizing their entrance into adulthood.
The significance and styles of the buns and topknots evolved with changing dynasties and societal norms.
See also: Chinese Queue or Pigtail hairstyle