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Dress in Ancient Egypt

The intent in this paper is to examine costume and styles of dress in ancient Egypt. The focus is on the dynastic era in Egyptian history from about 3100 B.C.E. to approximately 500 B.C.E. Egypt became a recognizable country during this time period, centered on the Nile River Valley.

The history of people in Egypt extends much further back than 3100 B.C.E., however, The Paleolithic Age in Egypt was actually a fruitful one, with a number of predynastic peoples dwelling in the Nile River Valley by about 5500 B.C.E. These people engaged in some agriculture, along with herding, and there is some evidence that they began to be involved in weaving, which was to become a very important element in the economy of dynastic Egypt. At that time, according to Hoffman (1979), the woven product was flax.

In looking at the pictures included in Hoffman's books, it is apparent that the beadwork and clothing of the predynastic people closely resembles that of the dynastic Egyptians. For example, a sample of jewelry from the Tomb of Djer at Abydos included the characteristic beadwork of the later period (see Figure 1). A later picture of the Protodynastic and Archaic iconography included illustrations of dress that resembles that worn by the men of the dynastic period, including loin cloths and tunics.

The early dynastic period is established as between approximately 3050 and 2715 B.C.E. It was at this time that upper and lower Egypt united under the first king, Menes, who historians believe actually was a collective name for several different princes. The capital was placed at Memphis and hieroglyphics appeared for the first time (Rauch, 1995).

This was followed by the Old Kingdom from 27152192 B.C.E., the First Intermediate Period from 21922040 B.C.E., the Middle Kingdom from 20401650 B.C.E., the Second Intermediate Period from 16501550 B.C.E., the New Kingdom from 15501070 B.C.E. and the late Dynastic Period from approximate...

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Dress in Ancient Egypt. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 22:36, November 30, 2021, from