ART AND FASHION OF ANCIENT EGYPT

Perhaps one of the biggest influences in the world of fashion and art, the culture and garments of Egypt have taken the world by the storm. Garments during the Old Kingdom were simple. During that time men would wear wrap around skirts known as the Shendyt that would be belted at the waist either pleated or gathered in front. With the coming of Middle Kingdom of Egypt 1600 B.C the skirt was worn grew longer. In around 1420 BC, there was a light tunic or blouse with sleeves, as well as a pleated petticoat. Throughout the Old, Middle and New Kingdom the women of Egypt wore simple sheath dresses called kalasiris. The dresses were held up by one or two straps and were ankle length. One could determine the social strata of the wearer by the length of the dress. Beading or feathers added as embellishment on the dress. There was a variety to wear over the dress for women such as robes, capes or shawls. It was made of haik a very fine muslin.

Ancient Egyptian Clothing

Fig 1: Ancient Egyptian Clothing

The children would be in the nude till six years of age but would wear jewelry such as anklets, bracelets, collars and hair accessories. On reaching six they would be provided clothing to defend themselves from the scorching heat. Side lock was a popular hairstyle for youngsters made on the right side of the head.

Wigs were worn by wealthy strata of society and there was no gender bias. It was composed of real human and horse hair. Often woven into particular hairstyles, they did not cost the earth. They served to protect themselves from head lice and also protect the head while performing dangerous tasks.

Ancient Egyptian Hairstyles

Fig 2: Ancient Egyptian Hairstyles

Jewelry was prevalent in Ancient Egypt irrespective of social status. Emphasis was laid more on weight than volume. Jewelry was being made by skilled artisans and used metals like gold and silver, small beads and turquoise stone. When it came to jewelry there was no gender bar. Those who could not afford precious metals resorted to colored pottery beads. Gorgerine was native to Ancient Egypt and was worn on the chest over bare skin or on top of a shirt and was attached in the back.

Ancient Egyptian Jewelry

Fig 3: Ancient Egyptian Jewelry

Ancient Egyptians were very particular about personal hygiene and their appearances. Embalming allowed the progression of perfumes and cosmetics. They had used a lot of makeup in the past. Henna was painted on their hands and nails. Black kohl sourced from galena helped to mark eyes. Eye shadow was obtained from crushed malachite. Red, which was applied to lips, came from ochre. Animal fat was mixed with these products to sustain and bind them togther.The ancient Egyptians believed that galena and crushed malachite would prevent dust and dirt from getting into their eyes is the reason behind which men and women wore them.

Beauty of Ancient Egypt

4. Ancient Egyptian makeup

Similarly men and women wore similar footwear. Sandals were made of leather and the people of the priestly order wore papyrus. These were worn only when there was a special occasion or when their feet were prone to get hurt.

Art was also predominant at that time. Paintings were done on stone surfaces that were prepared by white wash so that paint would absorb. After the painting dried varnish or resin would be applied to protect them. Several miniature Egyptian glassware from the New Kingdom were also discovered. Papyrus was discovered by the Egyptians and were used for writing and painting purposes.

Ancient Egyptian Art

Fig 5: Ancient Egyptian Art


References

1. Wikipedia, 2014,  Art of Egypt, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_of_ancient_Egypt, Acccessed on September 12, 2014

2. Reshafim, n.d, Garments, http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/timelines/topics/clothing.htm, Accessed on September 12, 2014

3. The Fashion Historian, 2012, Ancient Egypthttp://www.thefashionhistorian.com/2012/01/ancient-egypt.html, Accessed on September 12, 2014

4. Ideal Beauty Academy, 2012, The History of Makeuphttp://idealbeautyacademy.net/the-history-of-makeup/, Accessed on September 12, 2014

5. Myrdin, 2014, The Egyptian Clothing, http://myrdinfashion.com/english/history-of-fashion/the-egyptians-clothing/. Accessed on September 12, 2014

Annexure

1. Figure 1, Myrdin, 2014, The Egyptian Clothing, http://myrdinfashion.com/english/history-of-fashion/the-egyptians-clothing/. Accessed on September 12, 2014

2. Figure 2, Village Hat Shop, 2013, Illustrations of the different hat styles of the Ancient Egyptians, http://gallery.villagehatshop.com/gallery/chapter1/5_G, Accessed on September 12, 2014

3. Figure 3, Pinterest, 2013, Labe Shops, http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/78/9d/bd/789dbdb2bc4064111bffaa37254dc16e.jpg, Accessed on September 12, 2014

4. Figure 4, Ideal Beauty Academy, 2012, The History of Makeuphttp://idealbeautyacademy.net/the-history-of-makeup/, Accessed on September 12, 2014

5. Figure 5, Flickr, 2011, Women in Ancient Egyptian Art, https://www.flickr.com/photos/menesje/6258544519/in/photostream/, Accessed on September 12, 2014

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