WE LOVE BRAIDS!
From history books to the catwalks, we are fascinated by the symbolic meaning of the braid. Here’s a time line of this loved and ever evolving hair do.
Africa From 3500 BC- The Cornrow
In recent times, the Cornrow is associated with hip hop stars and has a very noble origin. In the 1950s, a French ethnologist and his team found a Stone Age rock painting in the Sahara dating back to 3500 BC. It showed a woman with cornrows feeding her child. Depending on the region from which it came, the style of the cornrow, from simple linear cornrows to complex geometric ones, helped to express one’s identity such as age or status.
Ancient Egypt 3100 BC
Ancient Egyptians loved their hair styled with wigs, jewels, beads, and extensions. Men and women would separate their hair into tiny braided strands that had beads woven in. Sometimes, braids made of human hair were added as extensions to make hair look thicker or longer. Although the ancient Egyptians generally frowned upon facial hair, beards were seen as symbols of divinity.
Greeks and Romans 1 Century AD
Greek women would also construct ornate hairdos based on extravagant braiding for important public functions, reflecting their status and rank in society.
Native Americans Pre AC Up to the Present Day
There are more than 500 Native American tribes in North America, and each one had a different relationship to braids and their meanings.
Medieval Europe 1066-1495
During the high and late Middle Ages, modesty was paramount. Popular Medieval braid styles like the double braid, the braided crown, the double braided bun, or the fishtail braid became commonplace amongst the noble single woman. These are a few of the most popular braiding trends of today.
Mongolia 13th Century
As the Mongol Empire grew in the 13th century, noblewomen wore elaborate hairstyles and headpieces. Their elaborate winged hairdos, (the inspiration for Queen Amidala from the Star Wars franchise) were supposed to evoke a mythical beast.
Braiding Goes Digital
Braiding has not lost its appeal in the 21st century. YouTube hits more than a million braiding tutorials and there are thousands of pinned, instagrammed braids all over the Internet. For Spring, Summer, and beyond, the braid was all over the catwalks and red carpet, too.