Chinese American man with queue in San Francisco's Chinatown
|Alternative Chinese name|
|Traditional Chinese||頭鬃尾 or 毛尾仔|
The queue or cue is a hairstyle, frequently used in reference to men, in which the hair is worn long and gathered up into a ponytail, often braided. It was worn traditionally by the Manchu people of Manchuria and certain Native American groups.
The queue was a specific male hairstyle worn by the Manchu people 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.
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.
The Manchu hairstyle was forcefully introduced to Han Chinese in the early 17th century. Nurhaci achieved the creation of the Aisin Gioro dynasty, later becoming the Qing Dynasty of China, after having defeated Ming Dynasty forces in southern Manchuria. 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 Qing rule. The queue also aided the Manchus in identifying those Chinese who refused to accept Qing dynasty domination.
The Queue Order (simplified Chinese: 剃发令; traditional Chinese: 剃髮令; pinyin: tìfàlìng), or tonsure decree, was a series of laws violently imposed by the Qing (Manchu) dynasty in the seventeenth century. It was also imposed on Taiwanese aborigines in 1753, though the Ryukyuan people, whose kingdom was a tributary of China, requested and were granted an exemption from the mandate.
|“||We are given our body, skin and hair from our parents; which we ought not to damage. This idea is the quintessence of filial duty. (身體髮膚，受之父母，不敢毀傷，孝至始也。)||”|
As a result of this ideology both men and women wound their hair into a bun or other various hairstyles. Manchu men, on the other hand, shaved their foreheads, leaving a long tail (traditionally called "queue" in English).
In 1644 Beijing was sacked by a coalition of rebel forces led by Li Zicheng, a minor Ming Dynasty official turned leader of the peasant revolt. The Chongzhen Emperor committed suicide when the city fell, marking the official end of the Ming dynasty. The Manchus then allied with Ming general Wu Sangui and seized control of Beijing and overthrew Li's short-lived Shun Dynasty. They then forced Han Chinese to adopt the queue as a sign of submission.
A year later, after the Manchus had reached South China, on 21 July 1645 Dorgon issued an edict ordering all Chinese men to shave their forehead and to braid the rest of their hair into a queue identical to those of the Manchus. The Han Chinese were given 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. This led Dorgon to question their motives: "If officials say that people should not respect our Rites and Music, but rather follow those of the Ming, what can be their true intentions?"
The slogan adopted by the Qing was "Keep your hair and lose your head, or keep your head and cut your hair" (Chinese: 留髮不留頭，留頭不留髮; pinyin: liú fà bù liú tóu, liú tóu bù liú fà). The Han Chinese people resisted the order and the Manchu rulers struck back with deadly force, massacring all who refused to shave their hair. Rebels in Shandong tortured to death the official who suggested the queue order to Dorgon, and killed his relatives.
The three massacres at Jiading District is one of the most infamous massacres, with estimated death tolls in the tens or even hundreds of thousands. The imposition of this order was not uniform; it took up to 10 years of martial enforcement for all of China to be brought into compliance.
Since the Qing Dynasty grouped Muslims by language, they grouped the Han Hui (currently known as Hui people) with Han Chinese since both of them spoke Chinese, and made them wear the queue. Turkic Muslims like the Uyghur and Salar people did not have to wear the queue.
However, after an invasion of Kashgar by Jahangir Khoja, Turkistani Muslim begs and officials in Xinjiang eagerly fought for the "privilege" of wearing a queue to show their steadfast loyalty to the Empire. High ranking begs were granted this right.
The purpose of the Queue Order was to demonstrate loyalty to the Qing and, conversely, growing one's hair came to symbolize revolutionary ideals, such as during the White Lotus Rebellion. Taiping Rebellion being called the Long hairs (長毛) or Hair rebels (髮逆).
Resistance to the queue
Han Chinese resistance to adopting the queue was widespread and bloody. The Chinese in the Liaodong Peninsula rebelled in 1622 and 1625 in response to the implementation of the mandatory hairstyle. The Manchus responded swiftly to this rebellion by killing the educated elite and instituting a stricter separation between Han Chinese and Manchus.
In 1645, the adoption of the queue was taken a step further by the ruling Manchus when it was decreed that any man who did not adopt the Manchu hairstyle within ten days would be executed. The intellectual Lu Xun summed up the Chinese reaction to the implementation of the mandatory Manchu hairstyle by stating, "In fact, the Chinese people in those days revolted not because the country was on the verge of ruin, but because they had to wear queues." In 1683 Zheng Keshuang surrendered and queued.
The queue became a symbol of the Qing Dynasty and a custom except among Buddhist monastics. Some revolutionists, supporters of the Hundred Days' Reform or students who studied abroad cut their braids. The Xinhai Revolution in 1911 led to a complete change in hairstyle almost overnight. The queue became unpopular as it became associated with a fallen government; this is depicted in Lu Xun's short story Storm in a Teacup in which Chinese citizens in Hong Kong changed to short haircuts collectively.
The Manchus' willingness to impose the queue and their dress style on the men of China, and their success in suppressing the resistance, were viewed as an example to emulate by some foreign observers. H. E. M. James, a British administrator in India, wrote in 1887 that the British rulers ought to act in a similarly decisive way imposing their will in India. In his view, the British administrators should have outlawed the suttee much earlier than they had actually done it (1829), and in James' own day they should have acted similarly severely against Indian journalists expressing opposition to the British rule.
- The queue is also a Native American hairstyle, as described in the book House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday.
- British soldiers and sailors during the 18th century wore their hair in a style known as the queue. While not always braided, the hair was similarly pulled back very tight into a single tail, but was wrapped around a piece of leather and tied down with a ribbon. The hair was also often greased and powdered in a fashion similar to powdered wigs, or tarred in the case of sailors. It was said that the soldiers' hair had to be pulled back so tightly that had difficulty closing their eyes afterwards. The use of white hair powder in the British Army was discontinued in 1796 and queues were ordered to be cut off four years later. They continued to be worn in the Royal Navy for a while longer, where they were known as "pigtails". Officers wore pigtails until 1805 and other ranks continued to wear them until about 1820.
- In the 18th century, European soldiers styled their traditionally long hair into a queue called the "soldier's queue" (Soldatenzopf), which was until then only allowed for noble Officers. That hairstyle first became mandatory in the Prussian Army and several other Holy Roman Empire's states' forces under Frederick William I of Prussia. An artificial or "patent" queue was issued to recruits whose hair was too short to plait. The style was abolished in the Prussian army in 1807.
- Jia Sheng (贾笙), 宋金时代的“留发不留头” ("Keep the hair, lose the head" in the Song-Jin era)
- Zi Yunju (紫雲居), Chinese: 中國的髮爪與接觸巫術 (Hair, nails, and magic of China)
- Li Ziming (李子明), Chinese: 剃头的故事晚清出国人员生活小记 (Barber's tale: notes from the life of Chinese abroad in the late Qing era)
- Lao Lu (Chinese: 老鲁), Chinese: 彻底改变两百年官定习俗 民国初年剪辫轶话 (Thoroughly changing the customs officially established for 200 years: the story of queue-cutting in the early Republic of China period)
- De Bary, William T. (1999). Sources of Chinese Tradition. Columbia University Press. p. 326.
- Kuhn, Philip A. (1990). Soulstealers: The Chinese Sorcery Scare of 1768. Harvard University Press. pp. 53–54.
- Wakeman 1985, p. 647; Struve 1988, p. 662; Dennerline 2002, p. 87 (which calls this edict "the most untimely promulgation of [Dorgon's] career."
- Chee Kiong Tong, et al. (2001). Alternate Identities: The Chinese of Contemporary Thailand. Brill Publishers. p. 44. ISBN 978-981-210-142-6.
- Ebrey, Patricia (1993). Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook. Simon and Schuster. p. 271.
- Morris Rossabi (2005). Governing China's Multiethnic Frontiers. University of Washington Press. ISBN 0-295-98412-0. p. 22
- James A. Millward (1998). Beyond the pass: economy, ethnicity, and empire in Qing Central Asia, 1759-1864. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-2933-6. p. 204
- Hiltebeitel, Alf et al. (1998). Hair: Its Power and Meaning in Asian Cultures. State University of New York Press. p. 128.
- “cutting tail”reflected the jiang nan social in guang xu dynasty two years
- 頭可斷辮子不可剪 清朝留學生剪辮=偷了情
- Wiltshire, Trea. [First published 1987] (republished & reduced 2003). Old Hong Kong - Volume One. Central, Hong Kong: Text Form Asia books Ltd. ISBN Volume One 962-7283-59-2
- James, Sir Henry Evan Murchison (1888). The Long White Mountain, or, A journey in Manchuria: with some account of the history, people, administration and religion of that country. Longmans, Green, and Co. pp. 110–112
- [Stocqueler, Joachim Hayward (1871) A Familiar History of the British Army, from the Restoration in 1660 to the Present Time, Edward Stanford, London (pp. 103-104)
- Wilkinson-Latham, Robert (1977) The Royal Navy, 1790-1970 Osprey Publishing , ISBN 0850452481 (p. 34)
- Hudson, Elizabeth Harriot (1878), ( The Life And Times of Louisa, Queen of Prussia With an Introductory Sketch of Prussian History: Volume II reprinted by Adamant Media Corporation (September 13, 2001) (pp. 214-215)
- Also mentioned in "Dragonwings", by Laurence Yep, Chapter 4
- Dennerline, Jerry (2002), "The Shun-chih Reign", in Peterson, Willard J. (ed.), Cambridge History of China, Vol. 9, Part 1: The Ch'ing Dynasty to 1800, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 73–119, ISBN 0-521-24334-3.
- Struve, Lynn (1988), "The Southern Ming", in Frederic W. Mote, Denis Twitchett, and John King Fairbank (eds.), Cambridge History of China, Volume 7, The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 641–725, ISBN 0-521-24332-7.
- Wakeman, Frederic (1985), The Great Enterprise: The Manchu Reconstruction of Imperial Order in Seventeenth-Century China, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, ISBN 0-520-04804-0. In two volumes.
- Voices from the Ming-Qing Cataclysm: China in Tigers' Jaws - By Struve, Lynn A. Publisher：Yale University Press, 1998 (ISBN 0300075537, ISBN 978-0-300-07553-3) (312 pages)
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