Ancient Egyptian society and clothes


This is a video of Seti I‘s temple in Abydos. Egypt.

Today, a guided tour of the ancient Egypt section of the museum; by Diana de Wild.

She is an archaeologist, specializing in ancient textiles.

So, much attention was paid to clothes, and their functions in Egyptian society and visual arts.

She started with the role of courtiers at the pharaohs‘ courts.

She said in the old kingdom, courtiers’ were the king’s family.

However, later, things became more complex, people from other families also becoming courtiers.

During the first dynasty of pharaohs, Ms de Wild said, courtiers, sometimes 200 of them, were buried with their kings when they died.

However, in the second dynasty, this custom was abolished.

During the old kingdom, only 1-2% of people is supposed to have been able to read hieroglyphs.

So, maybe, today more people than ever are able to read hieroglyphs.

Then, we went to the new kingdom exhibits.

Then, Egypt is supposed to have had three to five million inhabitants.

Both men and women used mascara; also against the glaring sunlight of Egypt.

Clothes, especially of the nobility, were of linen; mirrors of bronze.

In sculptures, aprons look like being starched and stiff.

In practice, they were much more flowing.

But a “stiff” apron in a sculpture made for an opportunity for long inscriptions.

Very often, an Egyptian sculpture, depicting someone sitting, had a cushion sculpted with it.

Sculptures were sometimes in limestone, sometimes in harder materials like sandstone.

Sculptures were usually for graves and temples, not for palaces (made of brick, so much less left of them than of graves or temples).

However, there were mural paintings in palaces.

For hygienic reasons, both men and women often shaved their hair.

They replaced it with wigs, made from human and horse hair.

In theory, the only person with full priestly authority in Egypt was the pharaoh.

However, as he could hardly be at various temples at the same time, he delegated his work to priests and priestesses.

During the old kingdom, being a priest was usually a part-time job of a government official.

During the new kingdom, in less important temples, priests often still worked part-time.

However, in the most important temples, they worked full-time.

Priestesses often did dancing and music in the temples, not sacrificing like their male colleagues.

However, later the prestige of, eg, the high priestesses of Amun rose.

Slavery in ancient Egypt: here.

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3 thoughts on “Ancient Egyptian society and clothes

  1. Pingback: Ancient Egyptian priests ‘killed by fat’ | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Taffeh temple and more ancient Egypt | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Unknown Egyptian pharaoh discovered, Senebkay | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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