What Is Buyao Hair Pin?(9 answers)

What Is Buyao Hair Pin?(9 answers)

Buyao hairpin, also known as the "bridge hairpin," is a traditional Chinese hair accessory that has been worn for thousands of years. Its design is simple, yet elegant, and it has become an iconic symbol of Chinese culture.


why called buyao hair pin?

Bu Yao, also known as "stepping sway," is a type of traditional Chinese jewelry worn by women. Its name is derived from the fact that it moves and sways with each step taken. Like other hair accessories such as jade hairpins and phoenix crowns, Bu Yao was used to adorn the hair or wrap it up.

The term "Bu Yao" first appeared during the Warring States period and was mentioned in the poem "Feng Fu" by Song Yu of the state of Chu. Women would secure the Bu Yao onto their hair and as they walked, the dangling metal beads and jewels would sway and make crisp, pleasing sounds. This combination of visual and auditory beauty gave rise to the name "Bu Yao."

Over time, Bu Yao evolved to be worn as part of a crown, which was known as a Bu Yao crown. This crown was adorned with a Bu Yao in the center, surrounded by other decorative elements such as flowers, butterflies, and birds. The Bu Yao crown was a symbol of feminine beauty and grace and was commonly worn during weddings and other special occasions.

Today, Bu Yao is still considered a symbol of traditional Chinese culture and is often used in costume dramas and other forms of cultural performances. It remains a cherished part of China's rich heritage and continues to captivate people with its timeless elegance and beauty.


what is buyao hair pin made of?

Buyao is a type of ancient Chinese jewelry worn by women. Its name, meaning "swaying with each step," comes from the fact that it would sway as the wearer walked. Buyao, along with yusao tou (jade hairpin) and feng guan (phoenix coronet), was used as a hair accessory or head wrap for women in ancient times. The term "buyao" first appeared during the Warring States period, in the poem "Feng Fu" by the Chu poet Song Yu, which contains the line "hanging pearls and swaying tassels, they come to arrange the ministers' households." Women would fasten buyao to their hair, and as they walked, the dangling metal beads and jade would sway and jingle, creating a pleasing sight and sound, hence the name "buyao." Later, buyao was fixed onto a crown and became known as a buyao crown.

Gold, silver, jade, and other precious materials were used to make buyao, and its shape and material were symbols of status and rank. After the Han dynasty, buyao gradually became popular among the common people and began to spread widely in society. Among noblewomen, buyao crowns were also used as a sign of wealth and luxury. The pieces were connected using glue or metal rings, and small components were often made from materials such as pearls. The production process was quite delicate and exquisite. It wasn't until after the fall of the Han dynasty that buyao began to be slowly promoted to the common people. By the Tang dynasty, buyao had become a common women's hair accessory, and had completely abandoned the accessory style of combining with hats, becoming a form of daily female decoration.

buyao hair pin constitute

Buyao is usually in the form of phoenixes, butterflies, or winged creatures, with tassels or pendants hanging from them. As they move, the gold jewelry sways with the wearer's movements, bringing it to life. The making of Buyao requires great craftsmanship and delicacy. The pieces are often connected by glue or metal rings, while small components are processed into pearls or other precious materials.

By the time of the Tang dynasty, Buyao had become a common women's accessory. It had abandoned its association with hats and become a form of daily female adornment. Buyao was typically made of yellow gold, curved into shapes such as dragons or phoenixes, and embellished with pearls and other precious stones. During the Six Dynasties period, Buyao became more intricate, with designs featuring birds, beasts, flowers, and more, shimmering and shining, and intricately crafted. They were worn alongside hairpins. According to the "Yufu Zhi Xia" in the "Book of Later Han," Buyao was made of yellow gold and resembled a phoenix, with a pavilion at the bottom, a comb at the front, and five-colored jade pendants hanging down, swaying as the wearer walked.


what is buyao hair pin used for?

The step shake, not only a type of hair ornament in ancient times, but also a tool that constrained the movements and postures of women. Step shakes were mostly made of gold, silver, jade, and other precious materials, with their design and quality serving as symbols of social status and hierarchy. It was not until the Han Dynasty that step shakes were popularized among common people. Among noblewomen, there was even a fashion for wearing step shake crowns on top of their headdresses, adding to their already luxurious appearance. 

Due to its unique design and structure, the step shake not only served as a decorative item, but also imposed an invisible restraint on the wearer, promoting a more dignified and graceful demeanor. The "hanging pearl" structure of the step shake significantly limited the wearer's movements, promoting stillness over motion. Over time, a set of customary rules and etiquette norms emerged around the use of the step shake, making it a "must-have" item for regulating the behavior of women from the ruling class. Unlike the harmful practice of foot-binding in ancient times, the step shake only restricted the wearer's movements without causing physical harm, reminding women to be mindful of proper conduct and manners. Importantly, the design of the step shake is in line with traditional Chinese culture of etiquette and propriety, embodying the graceful and dignified posture of ancient Chinese women.


buyao hair pin in wedding

In Chinese culture, hairpins have a long history of use as both a practical and decorative accessory. They were originally used to secure and adorn hairstyles, but over time, they also became a symbol of social status and beauty.

The Buyao hairpin, in particular, is often used in traditional Chinese wedding ceremonies. It is a symbol of the bride's purity and elegance, and is meant to hold her hair in place as a sign of her commitment to her husband.

In addition to its symbolic significance in weddings, the Buyao hairpin can also be worn for everyday use as a beautiful and elegant accessory to complement a variety of hairstyles.


buyao hair pin history

According to archaeological research, the Chinese hairpin called "buyao" first appeared in the Yin and Zhou dynasties. During this period, "buyao" was an important accessory that queens had to wear during ceremonies or celebrations. Later, it gradually spread to the people and became a must-have accessory for women. The term "buyao" actually originated in the Warring States period, where it was used in a poem by Song Yu of the Chu State. Women would fix the "buyao" on their hair, and as they walked, the hanging metal beads would shake and collide, producing a crisp sound that provided both visual and auditory beauty. Therefore, it was called "buyao". Later, when the "buyao" was fixed on a headdress, it became known as a "buyao crown".

Scholars believe that during the Han Dynasty, "buyao" was an important jewelry item for palace women, and only the princess and queen wore it, as can be seen in artifacts discovered today. Other royal women, such as the empress dowager, princesses, or concubines, could not wear it. From the Han Dynasty to the Northern and Southern Dynasties period, "buyao" gradually spread beyond the palace, and not only concubines but also noblewomen and even commoners could wear it, though the folk version was simpler.

Another theory claims that "buyao" originated during the Han Dynasty by absorbing inspiration from headwear in the Western Regions. However, the bold style of the Western Regions did not match the gentle and virtuous Han Dynasty, and as they mostly wore their hair down, hairpins had little use. The most similar accessory to "buyao" in the Western Regions was probably the hanging bead forehead decoration, so the Han Dynasty people incorporated hanging beads from forehead decorations into their hairpins, forming the "buyao".

The Northern and Southern Dynasties period was the golden age of "jin buyao". At that time, "buyao" was a symbol of status, worn by both noblewomen and noblemen. The Xianbei tribe's "buyao" was mainly composed of leaf-shaped elements. Two flower-shaped gold "buyao" found in the Xianbei tomb in Fangshencun in 1957 are representative of the Xianbei "buyao".

The Xianbei people were obsessed with "buyao". In the "Book of Jin", there is a story about a Xianbei tribal leader named Mohubali who followed Sima Yi in battle during the Three Kingdoms period. Mohubali was granted the title of "Rateyi Wang" after his meritorious service and established a kingdom with himself as king, with the capital at Dajicheng. Mohubali admired Han culture, especially the Han people's "buyao," which he particularly liked and wore every day. Because of his love for "buyao," people directly called him "buyao." In ancient Xianbei language, "buyao" and "Muran" are similar words, and over time, Muran became the name of his family.

From the Northern and Southern Dynasties period, "buyao" crossed regional and ethnic boundaries and was widely accepted by women of all ethnicities. Until the Ming and Qing Dynasties, due to the increasing refinement of folk handicraft techniques, the style and material of "buyao" underwent new development and changes. Classic jewelry techniques of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, such as enamel and pointillism, injected new blood into "buyao".

buyao hair pin styles

During the Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties period, the flower and tree motif was a typical style for hair ornaments, and this classic style was continued until the Ming and Qing Dynasties. In traditional Chinese thought, trees were seen as a way to reach the heavens, a medium for connecting humans with the heavens and earth, and a symbol of the continuous cycle of life. This beautiful image persisted into the Ming and Qing Dynasties. During this time, jewelers placed even more emphasis on complexity and extravagance in their designs, so we see that the flower and tree motifs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties were not just a combination of branches and leaves, but also included more lively flowers, insects, and birds. Craftsmen in this period were particularly skilled in using spiral-shaped filaments to connect the ornaments, rather than just letting them dangle. When women wore these ornaments, the decorations of flowers, birds, insects, and leaves would touch and collide with each other, creating a unique sense of charm.

When it comes to the naming of flower and tree hair ornaments, people would generally name them after the pattern or image rather than using generic names such as "flower hairpin" or "swaying hairpin". Although the term "swaying" was less commonly used during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, it remained an important accessory for women.

Tasselled hair ornaments are an ancient form of hair ornamentation, consisting of bead chains hanging from the top of the hairpin. As women move, these tassels sway with their steps, and this is where the phrase "swaying beads" in the "Feng Fu" originates. During the Qing Dynasty, people stopped referring to them as "swaying" and started calling them "pendants" or "tassels". As the Qing dynasty had a particular love for "Dongzhu" and various organic gemstones associated with Buddhism, tassel designs also underwent significant changes. Materials such as coral, pearls, tourmaline, and glass appeared in the tassels. The craftsmen of the imperial court not only improved the design of the tassels, but also applied the essence of the swaying beads to other hair ornaments. For example, the headdresses worn by the concubines of the Qing Dynasty included hanging pearl strands, and in the novel "The Plum in the Golden Vase", Li Ping'er once asked for a gold phoenix headdress from Xi Men Qing, demanding that "each phoenix beak should hold a row of pearls".

Gold tassels and pearl tassels often appear in royal jewelry, while silver tassels are more commonly worn by ordinary women. These silver chain tassels are a popular accessory for Han women and have distinct regional differences due to their widespread distribution. The silver chain tassels worn by southern women are finer, more densely arranged, and have a greater quantity, giving them a delicate and exquisite appearance. In contrast, the silver chain tassels worn by northern women are more sparsely arranged, but they use more material and have a simpler and more austere appearance.

Spiral-shaped hair ornaments first appeared during the Sui and Tang Dynasties. Although they did not have tassels or thin chains, they were lightweight and moved with the steps of women, making them another form of swaying hair ornament. This type of hair ornament was mainly linked with pearl or jade using fine filaments in a spiral or spring shape to achieve the swaying effect. Among the various forms of swaying hair ornaments, this type was the simplest and most suitable for everyday wear.

buyao vs hair pin

The difference between "buyao" and "zanzhi" is that "buyao" is a decorative accessory, while "zanzhi" is used to style and secure hair. Hairpins and hair clasps are items used to secure hair, with hairpins being thicker and single-pronged, while hair clasps have multiple prongs. They also have a decorative function. "Buyao" is a decorative item that is thinner and does not have the function of securing hair.

In ancient times, hairpins were called "ji". During the period when men commonly wore crowns, hairpins also had the function of securing the crown to prevent it from slipping. From the Zhou dynasty onwards, girls could hold a "ji ceremony" when they reached adulthood. Hairpins were the most basic tools used to secure and decorate women's hairstyles in ancient times. By arranging and inserting hairpins, women could create different hairstyles. As a result, hairpins were also known as "sao tou" (hair combs).

There is a wide variety of styles for "buyao", and the key changes are often focused on the design and patterns of the top of the hairpin. The top of the hairpin is hand-carved with green plants, small animals, geometric patterns, vessels, and other designs, many of which have auspicious meanings. Hair clasps typically have a single prong. "Buyao" developed from hairpins and hair clasps, and is so named because the beads and gems on the hairpin will naturally sway and shake as one walks and the hairpin moves with the footsteps. Therefore, it is called "buyao".

buyao hair pin vs tassels

The difference between tassels and buyao is that tassels belong to the category of buyao, which also includes hanging beads, animal-shaped ornaments, and flower and tree ornaments. Tassels are a favorite accessory of Manchu women. They resemble hairpins, but have several rows of bead tassels hanging from the top, swaying with the wearer's movements, and are very similar to the traditional Chinese Han ethnic jewelry category of buyao. However, they have tassels. Buyao is a traditional Han Chinese jewelry. Its prototype originated in the Western Regions during the Western Han Dynasty and was further developed through absorption and innovation. The accessories below are some light agate-like beads, rather than tassels, which give a feeling of swaying with each step, hence the name buyao.


buyao hair pin symbolize

The Buyao hairpin is a traditional Chinese hair accessory that has symbolic meaning in Chinese culture. It is often associated with marriage and is considered a symbol of love and fidelity. In Chinese, the word "buyao" sounds like "promise to be together forever," which further reinforces its significance as a romantic symbol.

The Buyao hairpin is also believed to have a protective function. In ancient China, it was worn to ward off evil spirits and protect against diseases. It was believed that the hairpin's shape and design had the power to repel negative energy and promote good luck and fortune.

Additionally, the Buyao hairpin is often decorated with auspicious symbols and motifs, such as dragons, phoenixes, and flowers, which are all associated with positive meanings in Chinese culture. These decorative elements further enhance the hairpin's symbolic significance and are believed to bring good luck and blessings to the wearer.

Its shape and texture are symbols of status and rank. After the Han Dynasty, the step shake gradually became visible to the common people and had the opportunity to be widely circulated in society.


In conclusion, the Buyao hairpin is an iconic symbol of Chinese culture and history. Its elegant design and cultural significance have made it a cherished accessory for centuries, and efforts are being made to ensure its continued use and preservation for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.


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