Features of Terracotta Warriors

Hairstyle and Headgear of Terracotta Warriors

The terracotta warriors were fabricated with two hairstyles: the flat bun and the cone bun. These two hairstyles have their own particular shapes and ways of braiding. Furthermore, in order to fix the hairstyle and show the different ranks and types of Qin terracotta warriors, distinctive headgear was added such as the crown, hat and hood. 
Hairstyle of Terracotta Warriors
Backhead Hairstyle of Cone Bun
Hairstyle of Terracotta Warriors
Sidehead Hair Style of Cone Bun

Two Hairstyles of Terracotta Warriors - Cone Bun and Flat Bun

Cone Bun 

Many of the unearthed terracotta soldiers have a cone bun on the right side of their heads. Some archaeological experts think that the rightward chignons are related to the Qin custom of respecting-right instead of distinguishing the warriors’ ranks. Some experts hold the opinion that there are subtle connections between these oblique chignons and the customs of the Chu state in ancient southern China. 

By observing this hairstyle in detail, experts found there were a number of ways to braid a cone bun back in the Qin Dynasty (221 BC – 207 BC), but roughly in three steps:
1. twist the hair on the back and side of the head into two or three three-strand braids.
2. gather the hair braids and remaining hair on the right top of the head and tie them with a hair band; at this time, the hair braids are twisted into cross-shapes, T-shapes, Y-shapes on the back head.
3. fix the hair braids to the back of the head with a square hairpin and tie the hair gathering into a round bun with a hair string.
Flat Bun Hairstyle
Flat Bun Hairstyle
By observing the colors remaining on the terracotta warriors, archaeologists learned that most of the square hairpins were white and most hair bands and hair strings were red. 

Flat Bun

Compared with the cone bun, the flat bun has a different shape. All the excavated terracotta officers, chariot warriors, and cavalry warriors as well as some of the soldiers were made with flat buns on the back of their heads. According to the diverse configurations and coilings, these flat buns can be divided into two kinds. One is a 6-strand flat bun with wide braids. The other has the shape of flat bun without braids, only with the hair on the back of the head folded up. Observing the terracotta warriors’ hairstyle closely, we can find that almost all the warriors made with 6-strand flat bun wear hats or crowns, and the top part of the bun is covered inside the hat or crown. 

Different Headgear for Different Ranks and Types of Terracotta Warriors: 

He Crown

He Crown of Terracotta General
A Terracotta General in He Crown
The He crown was worn by generals to represent their high status. Its forepart is a square plate, and the back part of the crown is divided into two parts and has the shape of a pheasant’s tail. The crown was made of leather or multi-layer wax cloth for protection. In real life, most He crowns had two orange bands on the right and left sides. Most of crowns are deep ochre, but some are red.  

Single-plate Crown

The single-plate crown had a trapezoid shape with a straight front piece. The back piece bent upward at an angle of 45 degrees. Total length of the single-plate crown was about 15 cm (6 inches). On both sides there were two triangular plates formed with a space to contain the warriors’ hair bun. A belt loop was made on the crown to connect the front plate and the middle of the flat bun on the back of the head. Two crown bands were tied with the belt to fix the hairstyle. The single plate crowns were mostly ochre and vermilion, and were made with the same texture as He crowns’. They also had two bands of orange as well. They were for lower rank officers.  

Double-plate Crown

The double-plate crown had exactly the same shape, size, widthand color as well as texture as the single-plate crown. The only difference was that the double plate crown was composed of two long pieces with a vertical crevice down the middle. They were for middle-rank officers.  
Single-plate Crown of Terracotta Warriors
A Single-plate Crown
Double-plate Crown of Terracotta Warriors
A Double-plate Crown


Terracotta cavalry warriors wore a hat with a short front piece and long back piece. The hat included a round dome and two stripes to fasten the hat on the head. The hat was small and only covered the bun. On its central back, we can see a big white peach-shaped flower. The hat had a soft texture and looked like a kind of single layer soft cloth.


The Hood was a soft hat. Its lower edge was long, reaching to the warriors’ hair line to cover up their hair and buns. A triangle opening on the hood’s back or side part linked two strips separately to get the hood fixed on the head. It was made from a single layer of soft cloth and was mainly vermilion in color. They were mostly worn by common soldiers. 

Both of the hairstyles and headgear of the Terracotta Warriors had distinct variations, which vividly reflect the high craftsmanship of the artisans and the hair fashion trend of the Qin army.
Hat for Terracotta Cavalry Warriors
Terracotta Cavalry Warrior in Hat
A Terracotta Warrior Wearing Hood
A Terracotta Warrior Wearing Hood

 Further Reading:
Bareheaded! Why didn't the Terracotta Warriors wear helmets?
 Types of Terracotta Warriors 


 Recommended Tour Itinerary:
Terracotta Warriors Tour: One-day to visit Terracotta Warriors and Horses and more

More Xi'an Tours 
                                                                                                        Next: Moustache of Terracotta Warriors

- Last updated on Apr. 12, 2021 -
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