Chinese Language and Culture

Why did Chinese men have ponytails?

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August 04, 2010 6:51AM

The queue or cue is a hairstyle in which the hair is worn long and gathered up into a ponytail. It was worn traditionally by certain Native American groups and the Manchu of Manchuria. The queue was a specific male hairstyle worn by the Manchus from central Manchuria and later imposed on the Han Chinese during the Qing dynasty. The hairstyle consisted of the hair on the front of the head being shaved off above the temples every ten days and the rest of the hair braided into a long ponytail.[4] The hairstyle was compulsory on all males and the penalty for not having it was execution as it was considered treason. In the early 1910s, after the fall of the Qing dynasty, the Chinese no longer had to wear it. Some, such as Zhang Xun, still did as a tradition, but most of them abandoned it after the last Emperor of China Puyi cut his queue in 1922.