What Is A Chinese Hair Comb?-Shubi

Since time immemorial, combs have always been an essential tool for grooming. Combs are among the oldest tools discovered by archaeologists, dating up to 5500BC. Who invented the hair comb – ancient Egyptians or Chinese The Egyptians were the earliest to invent a comb. They used them as a way to exhibit status and for decorative purposes. The Chinese also believed that combing their hair was a way to maintain their health, as traditional doctors insisted that combing one’s hair each day improved their health. The combs were mainly made out of wood, ivory or bone.    

Ancient Chinese Hair CombShubi

antique chinese comb

Shubi, also known as Zhi, is a term used to refer to Chinese combs. The term is broken down into “shu” which means thick-teethed comb and “Bi” which means fine-toothed comb. The comb originated 6000 years ago in China, dating to the Neolithic period. Chinese combs were worn to express high status and also for artistic value. It was a crucial ornament in Chinese history. It also had, and up to date, continues to hold unique cultural meaning and emotional value. The Chinese comb was not only used for grooming but also decorative purposes. The combs could be worn by both men and women, with women mostly wearing the fine-toothed comb in their hair buns.  

Chinese comb history

ancient chinese comb

One of the most ancient handicrafts in China is comb making, which has over a thousand years of history. In ancient China, hair was referred to as “thread-like things of trouble”; therefore, the Buddhist monks shaved their hair completely. However, with the invention of combs, holding and arranging hair was possible; hence they combed their hair and held it as a way to clear their minds. The Chinese combs originated 6000 years ago in China, dating to the Neolithic period. Some Chinese combs dating from the Shang dynasty were found in the tomb of fuhao. Combs also mean “prosper and smooth” and therefore were believed to represent people’s desirable wishes.

Combs in Chinese culture

shubi comb

what does comb mean in chinese culture? Chinese combs were an ornament of prestige usually used to express high social status and artistic value. They were made out of bamboo, wood and animal bones. With the development in society, combs are decorated in various ways in attractive patterns, which include landscapes, animals, opera characters, and many more. The best combs are said to originate from Changzhou, Jiangsu province. They are known for their firm texture, fine craftsmanship and great varieties. Therefore, the comb industry started in the late jin dynasty (Ad265-420) and is still operational to date, exporting millions of combs worldwide annually.

How to wear Chinese comb

Hair combs are the most ancient accessories worn in ancient China. The hair comb is quite easy to wear and does not require much time. To wear it:

  • Nicely brush your hair out
  • Position the comb with the teeth pointing downwards at an angle towards the hairline from above your ear upwards.
  • Comb the hair back before pushing it in the opposite direction to hold.


Combs have been essential in grooming from ancient history to the present day. Though today they are no longer used as an accessory much, combing hair promotes growth, nourishes hair roots and reduces hair loss. Hence they remain relevant to date.

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