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Brazil’s Ronaldo and his Chinese hair style

Today I have been sorting through some photographs from a visit to China whilst watching Brazil in the World Cup… one was of two small Chinese boys outside a shop in a small town in Gansu province and it reminded me of one of Ronaldo’s hair cuts…

In ancient China hair used to be considered holy and the sages said that “our body, hair and skin are granted by our parents and we should not be allowed to destroy them”. This is why Chinese men had long hair which they tied into a ‘top-knot’. There were rules to follow for the styles which made it easy to work out people’s ages, sexes, marital status and social position on sight.

I doubt he realised the similarity with the  ‘a fu’ cut, a traditional hair style for children aged 5 and under…  the cut was for the summer and it kept the head cool and was easy to keep. I also suspect it meant no head lice too.

The term ‘A Fu’ comes from a popular clay figurine of ‘Da A Fu’ that pilgrims left as sacrificial offerings to the gods in the temples of Huishan in Wuxi about 400 years ago.

Da A Fu was a boy who died battling demons and the people in his village fashioned his likeness in clay to commemorate the battle. The figurines evolved into a pair of chubby children (Da A Fu and a girl named A Xi). The little boy had a shaved head apart from a patch of hair over his forehead.

I was pleased with this photograph as it shows that the old traditions are still alive in the western reaches of modern China – and perhaps in Brazil too!?

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