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Tonsure

Tonsure

One of the most mysterious and striking of medieval hairstyles was the tonsure (TON-shur). Beginning in the seventh and eighth centuries, members of Christian religious orders began to shave the top of their head in order to show their purity and chastity. The size and shape of the tonsure could vary. Some wore a semi-circle tonsure, others a full circle. Some shaved just above the ears and left a full head of hair below. In some Catholic orders monks shaved all but a narrow piece of hair, leaving a fringe that looked like a crown.

The origins of the tonsure are something of a mystery. Early Celts, a people based in northern Britain, were thought to have worn the tonsure prior to their contact with the Roman Empire (27 b.c.e.476 c.e.) and with no relation to religion. Members of both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church wore the tonsure, and both claim that its origins go back to the time of Jesus Christ (c. 6 b.c.e.c. 30 c.e.). The tonsure was still worn by members of some Catholic religious orders until its abolition in 1972.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Cosgrave, Bronwyn. The Complete History of Costume and Fashion: From Ancient Egypt to the Present Day. New York: Checkmark Books, 2000.

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"Tonsure." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Tonsure." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 14, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tonsure

"Tonsure." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tonsure

tonsure

tonsure (tŏn´shər) [Lat.,=to shave], formerly, practice in some Christian churches of cutting some of the hair from the scalp of clerics. In the West the tonsure consisted of a circular patch on the crown of the head from which the hair was kept cut; some tonsures kept the entire head shaved above the ears, and some retained a broad band of hair around the head. Different religious orders had different tonsures. In the 6th and 7th cent. one of the outstanding questions between the Celtic use and the Roman use was the tonsure, which the Celts made by cutting the hair off the front part of the head. The Roman Catholic Church abolished the practice of tonsure in 1972. See orders, holy.

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"tonsure." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"tonsure." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 14, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tonsure

"tonsure." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tonsure

tonsure

tonsure a part of a monk's or priest's head left bare on top by shaving off the hair. In the Eastern church the whole head is shaven (the tonsure of St Paul), in the Roman Catholic Church, the tonsure consists of either a circular patch on the crown, or the whole upper part of the head so as to leave only a fringe or circle of hair (the tonsure of St Peter), and in the ancient Celtic Church, the head was shaved in the front of a line drawn from ear to ear (the tonsure of St John).

Recorded from late Middle English, the word comes from Old French or from Latin tonsura, from tondere ‘shear, clip’.

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"tonsure." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"tonsure." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 14, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tonsure

"tonsure." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tonsure

tonsure

ton·sure / ˈtänshər/ • n. a part of a monk's or priest's head left bare on top by shaving off the hair. ∎  [in sing.] an act of shaving the top of a monk's or priest's head as a preparation for entering a religious order. • v. [tr.] [often as adj.] (tonsured) shave the hair on the crown of.

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"tonsure." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"tonsure." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 14, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tonsure-1

"tonsure." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tonsure-1

tonsure

tonsure shaving of the head. XIV. — (O)F. tonsure or L. tonsūra, f. tons-, pp. stem of tondēre shear, clip; see -URE.

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"tonsure." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"tonsure." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tonsure-2

Tonsure

Tonsure (shaving of the top of the head): see HAIR.

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"Tonsure." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Tonsure." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 14, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tonsure

"Tonsure." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tonsure

tonsure

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"tonsure." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tonsure-0