Daily Draw, Tarot de Marseilles, The Star
Every hair on a person's head was a heavenly creation so said a Lutheran pastor c1600. For this reason a 'proper' hairstyle praised God. In Reformation Europe, a time of religious tensions, the style of a man's hair or beard were easy ways of judging his religious affiliations. People's everyday performances of hair and their innovative usage of head, facial, body and animal hair mirrored fundamental religious and social changes at that time.
According to Cambridge historian Stefan Hanss 'The Reformation turned hair into a highly contested issue...A community's religious purity was defined by its inhabitants' bodily, as well as social behaviour, so hairstyles were a way of demonstrating religious conformity.'
Preachers encouraged their parishioners to adopt hairstyles appropriate to their age, gender and status. Women were were discouraged from displaying curly flowing tresses (like Miss Star here) in public.
Deviance outraged God's honour. In 1582 a French noblewoman Charlotte Duples-Mornay scandalously wore curls to receive the eucharist. This act was considered sufficiently audacious to warrant an official investigation which resulted in the excommunication of her entire family.
As good grooming equalled godliness ruining someone's hair was a popular way of discrediting them. Violent attacks such as pulling off wigs or tearing out beards were quite common.
As hair was a marker of religious, cultural, personal and social status its loss was a serious matter. This association between hair and status can be observed in the way that the authorities sentenced certain criminals to forced shavings.
With hair being used express social, political and scholarly affiliations, hairstyling was to make identities and cultural hierarchies a material reality.