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Word Count: 308
wig manufactured head covering of real or artificial hair worn in the theatre as personal adornment disguise or symbol of office or for religious reasons The wearing of wigs dates from the earliest recorded times it is known for example that the ancient Egyptians shaved their heads and wore wigs to protect themselves from the sun and that the Assyrians Phoenicians Greeks and Romans also used artificial hairpieces at times It was not until the 16th century however that the wig again became a generally acceptable form of adornment or corrective for natures defects as in the case of Queen Elizabeth I Mens perukes or periwigs for the first time since ancient Egypt came into widespread use in the 17th century after Louis XIII began wearing one in 1624 By 1665 the wig industry was established in France by the formation of a wigmakers guild The wig became a distinctive class symbol for more than a century In the 17th century it attained its maximum development covering the back and shoulders and flowing down the chest During the same century women also wore wigs though less often than did men Certain professions established specific wigs as part of their official costume the practice is retained today only in some legal systems notably that of the United Kingdom Mens wigs in various forms were worn throughout the West in the 18th century until the French and American revolutions swept away these and other symbols of social status From the 18th century women wore wigs and hairpieces but only surreptitiously The popularity of womens naturally styled wigs in the 20th century and candour about wearing them increased substantially especially after the development of wigs made from inexpensive synthetic hairs In the Orient wigs have been used rarely except in the traditional theatre of China and Japan ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Bibliography wwwyahoocom
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