ART AND FASHION OF ANCIENT GREECE

The beauty of fashion is constantly evolving and ever-so changing nature. What we wear today is inspired by our ancestors of yesterday. Designers have found Greece as a great hub of inspiration for the longest time. It’s time to gain insight into art and costume of Greek civilization.

The Ancient Greek engaged in pottery for everyday use, rarely would one find it for a special occasion except for triumphs in games. They served as bowls, jugs and cups. Several painted funeral urns have been found. Colours used were limited mainly being red, yellow, black and white. Large metal vessels were also used to express their creativity by methods of casting and repousse hammering.

Ancient Greek Pottery

Fig 1: Ancient Greek Pottery

Clothing in Greece was usually made at home. The homespun fabric also had additional utilities that it could serve as a blanket, shroud and also the garment. There have been no articles of clothing preserved but they have been depicted in artistic depictions. Interestingly ancient remnants of Greek sculptures and vases suggest the textiles were bright in nature and were ornamented with complex designs rather than the usually all white ensemble. Clay was often used to make terracotta figurines mostly idols for religious purposes.

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Fig 2: A typical Greek hand-spun linen

Clothing for both women and men consisted of two main garments—a tunic (either a peplos or chiton) and a cloak (himation). The peplos was simply a large rectangle of heavy fabric, usually wool, folded over along the upper edge so that the overfold (apoptygma) would reach to the waist. It was placed around the body and fastened at the shoulders with a pin or brooch. Openings for armholes were left on each side, and the open side of the garment was either left that way, or pinned or sewn to form a seam. The peplos might not be secured at the waist with a belt or girdle. The chiton was made of a much lighter material, usually imported linen. It was a very long and very wide rectangle of fabric sewn up at the sides, pinned or sewn at the shoulders, and usually girded around the waist. Often the chiton was wide enough to allow for sleeves that were fastened along the upper arms with pins or buttons. Both the peplos and chiton were floor-length garments that were usually long enough to be pulled over the belt, creating a pouch known as a kolpos. Under either garment, a woman might have worn a soft band, known as a strophion, around the mid-section of the body.

Ancient Greek clothing for men

Fig 3: Ancient Greek clothing for men

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Fig 4: Ancient Greek clothing for women

Men in ancient Greece customarily wore a chiton similar to the one worn by women, but knee-length or shorter. Greek men occasionally wore a broad-brimmed hat (petasos), and on rare occasions, Greek women donned a flat-brimmed one with a high peaked crown. An exomis, a short chiton fastened on the left shoulder, was worn for exercise, horse riding, or hard labor. The cloak (himation) worn by both women and men was essentially a rectangular piece of heavy fabric, either woolen or linen. It was draped diagonally over one shoulder or symmetrically over both shoulders, like a stole. Women sometimes wore an epiblema (shawl) over the peplos or chiton which served as a loose veil when they attended public events and market. Young men often wore a short cloak (chlamys) for riding. Both women and men wore sandals, slippers, soft shoes, or boots, although at home they usually went barefoot.A strophion was an undergarment sometimes worn by women around the mid-portion of the body, and a shawl (epiblema) could be draped over the tunic.

Nudity and athletics during Class during Classical times in Greece, male nudity received a religious sanction following profound changes in the culture. After that time, male athletes participated in ritualized athletic competitions such as the classical version of the ancient Olympic Games, in the nude as women became barred from the competition except as the owners of racing chariots. Their ancient events were discontinued, one of which (a footrace for women) had been the sole original competition. Myths relate that after thiprohibition, a woman was discovered to have won the competition while wearing the clothing of a man—instituting the policy of nudity among the competitors that prevented such embarrassment again.

Fig 5: Panathenaic Stadium


References

1. Tina’s dynamic homeschoolplus, n.d, Ancient Greece, http://www.tinasdynamichomeschoolplus.com/creation-to-ancients/ancient-greece/, Accessed on September 10, 2014

2. Grace Greek Blog, 2013, Style, http://gracegreekblog.edublogs.org/, Accessed on September 10, 2014

3. Wikipedia, 2014, Clothing in Ancient Greecehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clothing_in_ancient_Greece, Accessed on September 10, 2014

Annexure

1. Ceramica, n.d, Pottery of Ancient Greece, http://www.pinterest.com/pin/175781191675978477/Accessed on September 10, 2014

2. Pinterest, 2013, greek Key Linen, http://www.pinterest.com/pin/125608277081490774/, Accessed on September 10, 2014

3. Figure 3, Etsy, n.d, Carambas Vintage, https://www.etsy.com/listing/79878465/ancient-greece-culture-clothing-and, Accessed on September 10, 2014

4. Stock PhotoPro, n.d, Ancient Greek Woman, http://www.stockphotopro.com/photo_of/Greek/B44261/Ancient_Greek_Women, Accessed on September 10, 2014

5. Figure 5, 500 Px, 2010, The Panthenaic Stadium, https://500px.com/photo/11143803/the-panathenaic-stadium-by-tony-rappa. Accessed on September 10, 2014

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