Do you ever wonder why Chinese people are always portrayed with pony tails in traditional Gung Fu movies?
The queue is a hairstyle in which the hair is worn long and gathered up into a ponytail. The Chinese queue was a specific hairstyle worn by the Manchus from central Manchuria and later imposed on the Chinese in China. The hairstyle consisted of the hair on the front of the head being shaved off above the temples and the rest of the hair braided into a long ponytail, or queue.
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 was compulsory on all males and the penalty for not having it was execution as it was considered treason.
The Manchu hairstyle was forcefully introduced to China by Nurhaci in the early 17th century. Nurhaci achieved the creation of a Manchu state in Manchuria, later becoming the Qing Dynasty of China, after having defeated the Ming forces in northern China. Once firmly in power, Nurhaci commanded all men in the areas he had conquered to adopt the Manchu hairstyle. The Manchu hairstyle was significant because it was a symbol of Ming Chinese submission to Manchu rule. The queue also aided the Manchus in identifying those Chinese that refused to accept Manchu domination of the Chinese.
The Queue Order(剃发令) was a series of laws violently imposed in Qing Dynasty in the seventeenth century.
Traditionally, adult Han Chinese did not cut their hair. According to the Classic of Filial Piety, Confucius said:
“We are given our body, skin and hair from our parents; which we ought not to damage. This idea is the quintessential of filial duty.
As a result of this ideology both men and women wound their hair into a bundle or into various hairstyles. Manchu men, on the other hand, shaved their foreheads, leaving a long rattail called the queue.
When the Manchus broke through Shanhai Pass in 1644, they forced surrendering Han Chinese to adopt the queue as a sign of submission. A year later, after the Manchus had reached South China, Dorgon imposed the Queue Order for all Han Chinese, giving the Han Chinese 10 days to shave their hair into a queue, or face death. Although Dorgon admitted that followers of Confucianism might have grounds for objection, most Han officials had instead cited the Ming Dynasty’s traditional System of Rites and Music as their reason for resistance.
In a country that claims five millennia of history, what’s a mere century? Oct. 10 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of China’s 1911 Xinhai Revolution, which ended 2,000 years of imperial rule. The fall of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) was precipitated by an uprising in the central Chinese city of Wuchang (now part of Wuhan) that eventually led to the formation of a Chinese republic under the tenuous leadership of Sun Yat-sen.
The 1911 Revolution not only rid Chinese men of humiliating ponytails, 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