Memoirs of the braid. Part 1

Image: © Dan Race / Fotolia

The story of one of the most ancient hairstyles


The beautiful female hair has always attracted the male attention. When braided, it becomes twice as charming. Often, when we look at paintings of ladies of the bourgeoisie, we see how their hair is brought into a well-formed tight braid. But what kind of mystic lies behind the mysterious hairstyles of the ladies from the Middle Ages? Now you are about to find out…

The church was supreme moral authority in the Middle Ages in Western Europe, because at that time was established the idea of the divine origin of power. The harsh religious dogmas dominated mostly the gentle sex, who during this period of time had almost no rights but to act as the obedient wife, mother and housewife.

On this occasion, the long, free-flowing female hair was associated with carnal sinfulness. The conviction emerged that the less visible and exposed the hair, the more humble, more obedient and loyal her possessor.


Thus, women, especially the noble ones, begun to look for ways to shape their manes without the intervention of scissors. Their secret desire was to have a seductive long hair, but also not to be raided in priapism and lust.


Braiding the hair was a cunning, easy and godly way to mask the length, volume and beauty of the curls. The braids were like a beautiful ornament, but their main purpose was to “discipline” the hairstyle.


Over time, new variants began to emerge through which the ladies “eradicated sin” from their hair. In the making of the hairstyle, participation took ribbons, strips, flowers, beads, precious stones, decorative elements that were wrapped in complex braids. Very often then the head was covered with a mesh or a scarf.


Only young unmarried girls were entitled to more freedom in the shaping of their hair. One of the most common hairstyles for girls at the time was the weaving of two braids on the back of the head that surrounded the head and passed through the forehead like a ribbon.


Women who did not wear their hair in the established form were often accused of witchcraft or were considered courtesans.


Hairstyles with braids were pretty practical for their era, as they allowed the hair to be kept clean for a longer time while the women preformed their daily household chores.


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