Polish plait (kołtun)

A large mat of hair that consumes part of or the entirety of someone’s scalp. Called kołtun in the Polish language, Polish plaits originated in Poland in accordance with a superstitious belief that the cultivation of one will encourage overall health. Historical references cite the existence of neater, narrower versions of Polish plaits, most notable being a narrow one on the left side of Danish King Christian IV’s head in the 15- and 1600s. The popularity of Polish plaits spread to other countries, such as Germany, over the course of a couple centuries. However, in the 20th century, a definitive medical movement took place that sought to wholly eliminate Polish plaits under the premise that large ones were often hosts of disease vectors such as lice, blood, pus, and scalp inflammation.