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The "Q"

 

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Perhaps one of the most endearing images of the Chinese during the Gold Rush days is a Q Cap.jpg (14675 bytes)man dressed in loose clothing, carrying two loads across his shoulder, using a pole and a long braided hair hanging behind his head.  This braided hair piece is known as the "Q" -- see photo of a recent year tourist souvenir, "Q Cap", which ought to give the reader an idea of what the "Q" looks like.  (Click on the image to get a better view and use the browser back button to return to this page).   

There is an urban myth that the "Q" was dear to the Chinese, and perhaps it was to some.   Further, there was an understanding by some readers that cutting off the Chinaman's "Q" would be a great insult to the person.   And indeed, it was said that pulling the Chinaman's "Q" was also a great insult to the Chinese person.

However, it is common knowledge to students of modern Chinese history that the "Q" and the Manchu attire was forced on the Han Chinese by the conqueror of the Ming Dynasty.   During the dying days of the Qing Dynasty, opposers of the Qing rulers would cut off their Q, as a sign of protestation.   They do so with risk of prosecution by the ruling Qings.   Dr. Sun Yat Sun, revered by many as the Father of modern China, himself was amongst the brave revolutionary dared to cut off his "Q".

Our research on this topic continues.