"Dust stanched the wet and naked heads of the scalped who with the fringe of hair below their wounds and tonsured to the bone now lay like maimed and naked monks in the bloodslaked dust"
Augustinian Monk Piero della Francesca (c. 1455-60)
Public DomainAugustinian Monk Piero della Francesca (c. 1455-60) - Credit: www.aiwaz.net
Don Baldassare di Antonio di Angelo (c. 1499), by Pietro Perugino
Public DomainDon Baldassare di Antonio di Angelo (c. 1499), by Pietro Perugino - Credit: Uffizi Gallery

The term tonsure originally referred to the traditional practice of Christian churches of cutting or shaving the hair from the scalp of clerics, monastics, and, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, all baptized members.

The term is now used more generally for the cutting or shaving of hair for devotees, holy people, or mystics of other religions as a symbol of their renunciation of worldly fashion and esteem, such as by Buddhist novices and monks.