Uncover the first emperor to dye his hair in Chinese history

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The phenomenon of hair dyeing is not unique in contemporary times, but has a long history and has existed since ancient times. There were countless people in the ancient upper class, including the emperor. Wang Mang was the first emperor to dye his hair in Chinese history.

For the political figures of emperors, generals and ministers, their words and deeds, including the life details of dyeing their hair, are often linked to politics. For example, when Xu Zhigao, the founding emperor of the Southern Tang Dynasty, was the prime minister at the beginning, he was worried about “not being mature enough to suppress the public”, so he “took medicine to change his beard and temples, and became frost in a day”; Later, Xu Zhigao’s practice was followed by Kou Zhun of the Song Dynasty, “the song Kou laigong was eager to make a photograph, so was his method” (Beijiang Poetry). Obviously, the two men made their hair white by taking medicine in order to pretend to be mature and to be more stable in politics. Compared with them, why did the new emperor Wang Mang dye his white hair black?

After Wang Mang became independent on behalf of the Han Dynasty, he launched a series of reform plans intended to “restore the ancients”. They are full of fantasy and absurd. Instead of promoting social progress, they hinder social development. Both the Li people and the powerful landlords were disappointed and hated this new dynasty, which was full of pedantry. As a result, uprisings continued throughout the country.

In the first month of the fourth year of the emperor of the earth (23 BC), the green forest Army established Liu Xuan as the emperor and changed his name. By this great change, Wang Mang was like a thunderbolt. He had trouble sleeping and eating. The book of Han said that he was “more frightened by the smell”. However, Wang Mang, who has always been conceited, is unwilling to fail. He has to make a final struggle. After searching, Wang Mang thought of a way to deceive people by holding a wedding. The Queen’s seat has been vacant since her death. Holding a grand ceremony for the emperor’s wedding and establishing a queen may play a role in whitewashing peace. After layers of screening, Wang Mang finally chose the daughter of the duling historian as the queen. This year, Wang Mang was 68 years old. He was already an old man with a white head and beard.

However, on the wedding day in March, Wang Mang dyed his gray hair and beard black, “but dyed his beard and hair” (the book of Han Dynasty), and dressed himself up as a young man who looked like a strong man. How Wang Mang dyed his beard and hair black is not recorded in the official history. The romance of the history of the Han Dynasty says that “mang was sixty to eight years old, and his beard and hair were all white, but he painted his hair with coal, dyed his beard with ink, and pretended to be a young man”, which obviously means joking and mocking.

Wang Mang was originally good at making articles in his hair. When Wang Feng was seriously ill, Wang Mang “recklessly waited for illness, tasted medicine, unkempt and unkempt, and did not undress for months” (history of the Han Dynasty). Just think, Wang Mang was filial and devoted at that time, but he couldn’t spare a little time to wash his face and comb his hair? The poor picture of “unkempt heads and dirty faces” in official history finally moved Wang Feng and the emperor. Decades later, it should be natural for Wang Mang to repeat his old tricks and show off in his hair when he got married.

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