Loose, Flowing Hair is a Symbol of Penitence in Christian Art

In the Hebrew bible, a Nazirite is he who voluntarily makes a special vow of consecration to God. What this vow entails is explained in detail in chapter six of the Book of Numbers, verses 1 to 21: These vows imply a certain degree of self-imposed discipline, including that of not cutting one’s hair, as is clearly stipulated in the Book of Numbers. Samson (Judges 13:5) and Samuel (1 Samuel 1:11) are both Nazirites. This might be one of the antecedents of a motif we commonly find in Christian art: penitents are always depicted with long, flowing, loose hair. [More]