Dress Style in the Ancient Egypt
The first civilization began in the place of Mesopotamia where it is in Iraq today. From that time, many things have been inherited through centuries such as arts, architectures, and religions. What about the cloth the ancient people wore at the time? The topic seems to be fascinating to research, and in this essay I would like to talk about the dress style of ancient Egyptians and pharaoh’s adornments as well.
At first, ancient Egyptians chose the best materials for their cloth concerning the climate in their region. Since the Egyptian climate was very hot in summer and mild in winter, they favored light clothing materials which were all made from plant fibers, especially linens. Sometimes, they were made from wools, but wools were not preferred to ancient Egyptians. Based on the trace found in the Egyptian tomb, Silks were also imported by trading to the eastern Mediterranean, but probably the materials were used only the second half of the second millennium B.C. Animal skins like leopard were worn by priests and pharaohs, and feathers were worn by kings and queens as well.
At second, ancient Egyptians already employed the technique of spinning and weaving in manufacturing clothes. The important textile, lines were made from flax which was seen as a gift of the Nile as the Hymn to Hapi tells that “People are clothed with the flax of his fields.” Flax fibers were favored by men because of its longest and strongest fibers among all the natural fibers. Most of the cloth manufacturing was women’s work, yet men also helped to make cloth in some step of the production. The first stages of the linen production were done by men. They reaped the plants and extracted fibers by beating and combing the plants. The fibers could be spun into thread and woven on horizontal looms. And those works of spinning weaving were often performed by women. Vertical looms were invented during the New Kingdom, and the new looms physically required operating by men. Stitches were used on such as sleeves or shoulder straps. The seams used were generally simple or lap-over, though run-and-fell and overcast seams were also known. The number of different stitch types was also limited: running stitch, overcast stitch, and twisted chain stitch. The tools used such as knives and needles changed over the centuries. Blades were changing from stone during the Neolithic, then from copper, from bronze during the Middle Kingdom and finally from iron. Needles were made from wood, bone, and metal. The Egyptians succeeded in making them millimeter thick copper needles.
Then, how did they keep their cloth clean? There were the titles of “chief washer of the palace” and “chief bleacher” who was in charge of keeping royal clothes white. It was obviously hard work to wash clothes by hand. At the time, soap was not known to ancient Egyptians yet. So they used lye, which is made of castor-oil and saltpeter, or detergents made of soapworts or asphodel. Pairing workers, the laundry was beaten, rinsed and wrung. Many of ancient Egyptians did not have access to facilities and had to do their laundry sometimes under difficult conditions. It could be dangerous for them to wash on the shore of the river or the bank of a canal, which had the advantage of not having to carry a lot of water in heavy earthen pots.
The Egyptians walked on barefoot much of the time, however, footwear was needed depending on occasions, like when they got hurt their feet. People living around the Mediterranean sometimes needed elaborate footwear, except the Hittites in their Anatolian highlands who wore shoes with turned up toes. The footwear worn by the Egyptians was simple sandals which were tied with two thongs, or sandals tuned upwards at the pointed tip. They were made of leather woven or stitched together, and often times they were tuned upwards. The cheapest sandals were affordable to most of the people, but still the...
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