The History of the Hair Bun
Exuding an image of sophistication and elegance yet replete with the simplicity and warmth of home, the bun is one of the most iconic hairstyles in the world with a history that stretches back centuries. Although it is difficult to ascertain exactly where it originated, the bun was known in various cultures including the ancient Greeks, Polynesians, Chinese, and Koreans. Perhaps surprisingly, the bun was also popular among men and was considered a symbol of marriage (among the Koreans), or as a means to support a Samurai helmet (among the Japanese). The ancient Greeks wore the bun in much the same way as it is worn today, with jewellery or flowers used as adornments, while in the royal courts of the Renaissance period the bun was a typical hairstyle for dancers and stage performers.
India, with its rich history and diverse cultures, has many stories to tell in the way of the hairstyle. From deities to monarchs and courtiers and servants, hairstyles through the ages of Indian history are as vivid a part of stories as are the characters themselves. Indications of the Bun hairstyle in India go back to 320 – 550 BC, when images of Buddha showed him with curly hair arranged in a bun atop his head. The use of the Bun by women was recorded from the Gauda Kingdom (present day Bengal) in the 7th century. Even further back in time, the Harappan civilization showed much interest in hair styling, with combs and copper mirrors being common artefacts in many sites.The Bun showed itself in numerous terracotta figures from this time. In the first and second centuries BC, the Satavahana dynasty ruled over parts of present day Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Telangana. Sculptures in rock cut caves from this era show that the bun was in fact a very popular hairstyle, often being accompanied by flowers and jewellery as embellishments. The Gupta dynasty of northern India, which flourished from the 4th to 7th century AD, preserves its popular hairstyles through terracotta figurines. Indigenous hairstyles from this period often took the form of long hair being tied into a bun that could be worn on the top of the head or on either side. The Medieval period of India that stretched broadly from the 6th to the 16th century included artworks that occupy many famous temples such as Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh. The Bun made numerous appearances in this period as well, particularly as seen in temple carvings, and became established as one of India’s most iconic hairstyles.
The Hair Bun holds a prominent place in the culture of Kerala. From the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, to the iconic hair of Mohiniyattam dancers, the Hair Bun’s image is one of sophistication and artfulness. Almost invariably adorned with white flowers, the Hair Bun is an excellent choice for anyone looking to make an impression in traditional or even more modernistic settings!