Overview

Etymologically the word wig is short for "periwig", or "peruke". The word "periwig" first appeared in the English language around 1675 (Wikipedia). Throughout the ages wigs have been used for many purposes: fashion, as a symbol of social standing, for hygienic purposes, religious precepts, and even to inspire awe in the enemy before battle. Also, different materials have been used: human hair, vegetable fibers, yak hair, horse hair, etc. In this short overview we will attempt to trace the usage of wigs from the first recorded usage up to our modern times. We will depict the usage of wigs in ancient societies divided by castes, where different styles of wigs meant that the bearer belonged to a certain social stratus, right into our modern societies where wigs are used mainly for fashion.