Braids are a social art anyone can wear, but they must respect the roots and know the history behind hairstyles. For example, box braids aren’t just a hairstyle for black women. So, wearing box braids as a trend can hurt their emotion.
Similarly, some braids come under the Asian braids history, which you should know before wearing them. For instance, dreads first originated in Asian countries, but some black people claim that dreads are their invention due to a lack of knowledge.
But are Africans aware of the Asian braid history? Can Asian women wear braids without facing appropriation? Read along to get your answers.
Asian Braids History
Although braids were first invented around 3,000 years ago in African culture, we can also find the trace of braids in multiple cultures worldwide throughout history.
In Asian culture, braids significantly impact the history of Asian people. Such as:
1. History Of Chinese Braids
In ancient China, women used to wear different braid styles to present their silent message. For example, young and single girls used to wear their hair simply and down to represent they weren’t married.
Maidens unusually kept their braids till they turned 15. Then, on their fifteen birthday, they went through a ceremony known as Ji Li (for girls) and Guan Li (for boys). Through this ceremony, they get the chance to wear traditional clothes and pay honor to Huangdi.
Girls attend this ceremony to wash, comb, and twist their hair into new braided updos with gold, wood, or jade pins. However, maidens only from noble families were allowed to hold these ceremonies.
Once women married in ancient China, they simply put on the Tied The Knot hairstyle at the nape of the neck to represent their new busy life. Of course, the married hairstyle could change depending on their luxury and social ranking.
2. History Of Thai Braids
The ancient braided hairstyle of Thailand is called Phom Pia which closely resembles the traditional African box braid. However, unlike other cultures, boys were most likely to wear braids in ancient Thailand.
They believed in superstitions; for example, children wore braids to protect themselves from evil spirits.
Once kids enter puberty, they go through a ritual where they shave their heads, except for a long plait called a topknot.
Due to this resemblance of box braids, Phom Pia braids have become a subject of controversy on social media and online.
But Thai braids are worn with only natural hair without hair extensions. Plus, Phom Pia braids are thicker and less durable than box braids.
However, cultural appropriation is when someone adopts a hairstyle from a specific culture that was historically oppressed.
For example, Lisa, a well-known music artist from BlackPink, went through a backlash for wearing braids with extensions. But, in the end, she sincerely apologized for cultural appropriation.
In terms of the definition, braids were already a part of Thai culture even before they came into contact with other cultures.
3. History Of Indian Braids
Dreadlocks were first introduced during the ancient Vedic Hindu culture in 2500 BC. That’s why dreadlocks are considered to come from the Indian religion since Lord Shiva, an Indian preacher, first wore this hairstyle.
It’s described in Asian mythology that Lord Shiva received the coming force of the river Ganges to earth and saved the earth from destruction. During that time, dreadlocks of Hinduism spread their influence on Jainism, Buddhism, and the ancient culture of Romans and Greek.
Both in African and Asian cultures, this hairstyle was a source to show fear of the Almighty. However, with the flow of time, now Indian women are wearing different tight braided hairstyles to enhance their beauty.
Are Africans Aware That Asians Also Have Braids in Their Culture?
Most braided hairstyles are depicted in ancient Africa. But Africa isn’t the only country with an extreme history of braids. Other cultures, such as Mexican, Brazilian and Asian cultures, have also enriched history with braids.
And Africans are well aware of the fact that they are not the originators of all types of braided hairstyles.
For instance, Africans are aware of Thai braids, which don’t include adding hair extensions. But if any Thai person wears ancient braids with additional hair, it can upset black people.
Again, there are some misconceptions about dreadlocks. This hairstyle is originally created by an Indian preacher Lord Shiva to save the earth from the force of the holy river Ganges.
But some Africans get upset when they spot an Indian wearing dreads. Hence, it’s necessary to double-check the history behind the braided hairstyle you want to create to avoid cultural appropriation.
Is It Cultural Appropriation for Asians To Wear Braids?
Before we answer this question for you, let’s understand what cultural appropriation actually is.
So cultural appropriation means taking a hairstyle, trend, or fashion by culture from a different culture and claiming that they are the original creator.
For example, Kim Kardashian used to wear cornrows, but on her Snapchat, she introduced her hairstyle as Bo Derek braids.
During the 1970s or 80s, the whole world adopted the Bo Derek (usually a copied version of the cornrow) as a beautiful and exotic hairstyle.
On the other hand, they didn’t accept the original black cornrows, calling cornrows unattractive and unprofessional. So, Kim Kardashian has faced backlash for her hairstyle.
In short, if anyone, including Asian people, wears African braids and claims it as their own hairstyle, that’s where the problem begins.
Therefore, as an Asian woman, you can wear any braided hairstyle, but you must respect its roots. In fact, African women also appreciate it when someone respectfully embraces their braids.
In Europe, what was the hairstyle of the 1870s?
The hairstyle of the 1870s in Europe was a big, bouncy affair. Women wore their hair in large curls, big braids, and voluminous chignons. They did not use any additional hairpieces or extensions to achieve this look. However, as the 20th century progressed, women began to use more and more hairpieces to create ever-more elaborate styles.
When did ancient Egyptian women start wearing braided hair?
The practice started during the Old Kingdom period, and continued through to the New Kingdom period.
During the Old Kingdom, women typically wore their hair short. Some shaved their heads completely bald and then wore a wig on top. This look was popular among wealthy women.
During the New Kingdom period, hairstyles became more varied and women often wore their hair longer. Sometimes it was even braided into elaborate styles.
what do box braids signify?
They became iconic in the 90s and continue to be popular today. There are a variety of meanings that can be attributed to them, depending on the context. For example, they can signify social status, wealth, age, and marital status among African tribes.
You get to know about the Asian braids history from the above discussion. Although braided hairstyles first came from Ancient Africa, some braided styles were also depicted by different cultures worldwide.
Hence, it’s necessary to know the real history behind the braided hairstyle to avoid facing hatred from any culture.