Manufactured head covering of real or artificial hair worn in the theatre, as personal adornment, disguise, or symbol of office, or for religious reasons. Ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans used wigs, often as protection from the sun. In the West the wig first became an acceptable form of adornment or corrective for nature's defects in the 16th century, and men's perukes, or periwigs, came into widespread use in the 17th century. Men's wigs were common throughout the 18th century. Women wore wigs surreptitiously in the 18th–19th centuries; after the development of inexpensive synthetic wigs in the 20th century, women's wigs increased in popularity. In East Asia wigs have been used rarely except in the Chinese and Japanese theatre.
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