May 1, 2012

Ancient Egyptian Dress for Man and Woman Secrets

Dress of the Male, 1844
Edward Lane

The dress of the men of the middle and higher classes consists of the following articles. First, a pair of full drawers of linen or cotton, tied round the body by running a string or band, the ends of which are embroidered with coloured silks, though concealed by the outer dress. The drawers descend a little below the knees, or to the ankles; but many of the Arabs will not wear long drawers, because prohibited by the Prophet.

Egyptian Dress of the Male
Next is worn a shirt, with very full sleeves, reaching to the wrist; it is made of linen, of a loose, open texture, or of cotton stuff or of muslin, or silk, or of a mixture of silk and cotton, in stripes but all white. Over this, in winter, or in cool weather, most persons wear a sudeyree, which is a short vest of cloth, or of striped coloured silk and cotton, without sleeves.

Over the shirt and the sudeyree or the former alone, is worn a long vest of striped silk and cotton (called kaftan), descending to the ankles, with long sleeves extending a few inches beyond the fingers’ ends, but divided from a point a little above the wrist, or about the middle of the fore-arm; so that the hand is generally exposed, though it may be concealed by the sleeve when necessary; for it is customary to cover the hands in the presence of a person of high rank. Round this vest is wound the girdle, which is a coloured shawl, or a long piece of white figured muslin. The ordinary outer robe is a long cloth coat, of any colour, called ... by the Egyptians gibbeh, the sleeves of which reach not quite to the wrist.

Some persons also wear a beneesh; which is a robe of cloth, with long sleeves, like those of the kaftan, but more ample, it is properly a robe of ceremony. ... In winter also many persons wrap a muslin or other shawl (such as they use for a turban) about the head and shoulders. The head-dress consists, first, of a small, close-fitting, cotton cap, which is often changed; next, a tarboosh, which is a red cloth cap, also fitting close to the head, with a tassel of dark-blue silk at the crown; lastly a long piece of white muslin, generally figured, or a Kashmeer shawl, which is wound round the tarboosh. Thus is formed the turban. . . . Stockings are not in use; but some few persons, in cold weather, wear woollen or cotton socks. The shoes are of thick red morocco, pointed and turned up at the toes. Some persons also wear inner shoes of soft yellow morocco, and with soles of the same: the outer shoes are taken off on stepping upon a carpet or mat; but not the inner; for this reason, the former are often worn turned down at the heel.

Dress of the Poorer Women, 1812
Dr. Charles Meryon

Egyptian Dress of the Women
The poorer sort of women in ancient Egypt were dressed in a blue shift something like a smock frock, the sleeves being very large. These shifts have at the sides two slits m the place of pocket-holes, so long that it is not unfrequendy happened in bending themselves forward that their naked skin was seen. Over their faces was a slip of black cotton or silk (according to the means of the wearer) tied round the head by a fillet or tape. From the centre of this, in a perpendicular line, pieces of silver or gold, or sometimes pearls, were hung. Over the head passed a long blue or black veil, one end of which had its two comers stitched together for about three inches, and, the corner so stitched being put under the chin, the face came out through an oval opening in it. The sleeves of the shift, which tapered down to a point, were often, when the women were employed, tied by the points behind the back. The arms, thus left bare to the shoulders, showed sometimes as much symmetry of form as would enchant a statuary or a painter.

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