On Hair-Braiding Patterns and Their Significance
A Cross-Genre Thesis by
Kezhbe of Textiles House
Akerrabgyah of Diplomacy House
Giryana of Art House
The history of the Calenyena braiding is long and complex, going back to the earliest known Calenyen art. Although all races on Reiassan are known to use hair-braiding, Calenyena hair is uniquely suited for the more complex patterns, and Caleyena history has been actively colored by these braids.
In the early days, pre-Rebellion, Calenyena were often forced by Bitrani – or Tabersi, as they were known then – cultural norms and, in some cases, sumptuary laws to wear their hair in the Tabersi style. Thus, braids were a symbol of rebellion for early Calenyena.
In the days called the Iron Age by many and known to historians as the Skirmish Era, from 200-500 R, soldiers wore their hair in tight styles, close to their head and easily tucked into helmets; the affluent, the soft, and those who could not fight wore elaborate styles. The inability of one’s hair to be put into a helmet became a clear sign, for good or ill, that one was not a fighter.
In the Time of the Treaty, a group of border Calenyena objected to the treatment of the defeated Bitrani and wore their hair unbraided – and in some cases short – as a protest. This fashion lasted in the borders for well over a hundred years, long after the protest itself had been forgotten.
In any portion of Calenyena history, you have been able to read a person’s story in the pattern of their braids or the lack therof, and such remains true to this day.
In this paper, we will detail many of those stories, working from primary sources – art, letters, ambassador’s notes – as well as from early historians’ work. We seek to show the evolution of the braids from a mere hair-holding technique to a symbolic language all its own, showing the stops taken by history along the way.
I’ve never actually had to write a thesis, so if this abstract form is incorrect, please be kind!
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