THE COSTUME OF ANCIENT EGYPT
The general description of the country
Throughout centuries people have been showing great interest in
culture and art of Egypt, the ancient nation of the world.
The history of ancient Egypt is divided into four periods: Old Kingdom (3000-2400 BC), New Kingdom (1580-1090 BC) and Late period (1090-332 AD).
The main occupations of ancient Egyptians were farming, cattle-breeding and different handicrafts (pottery, jewellery, weaving, glass production).
The class society of ancient Egypt consisted of different estates: the slaveholding nobility, townsmen (scribes, craftsmen), free peasants and slaves.
By its government system, the country was a despotic monarchy at the head of Pharaoh and nobility, the latter included slaveholders and priests. Ancient Egyptians considered Pharaoh as the deputy of god on the Earth. Religion and its servants, the priests, hollowed Pharaoh with this right along with social inequality, despotism and worship.
The peculiar Egyptian religion based on worship of gods of the sun, the moon, the Earth, domestic and wild animals (crocodile, lion, jackal, cow, cat, falcon, snake, etc.) penetrated all spheres of life.
The religion played its peculiar role in culture and in the people’s aesthetic notion.
Artistic images always contained symbolism (lotus – symbol of fertility and immortality, snake – symbol of power). The image of human being in culture had a relative and schematic character. Egyptian ancient statues portraying Pharaoh and his servants are static and monumental. The poses and gestures of statues were canonized and the sizes were socially stipulated.
Aesthetic ideal of beauty
Reliefs, frescos, sculptures of ancient Egypt help us to judge about aesthetic ideal of human beauty, main types and forms of his clothes. With the help of the schematic and relative image of Ranefer statue (Old Kingdom) we can clearly see the features of ideal image of ancient Egyptians such as high stature, broad shoulders, narrow waist and hips, massive features. Common resemblance with the modern idea of beauty is noticed in woman appearance: slim figures, regular and delicate features, almond-shaped eyes (statue of Ranaya, bust of Nefertiti).
Description of the appearance of one of heroines of George Ebers’ novel “Uarda” shows us the ideal beauty of ancient Egypt. George Ebers, the famous Egyptologist of XIX century, helps us to imagine the perfect type of beauty of ancient Egypt: “The somewhat dark shade of her skin, warm, fresh and smooth colour, something middle between gold yellow and brownish bronze, indicated that she had no a drop of alien blood in her veins. Straight nose, noble form of forehead, smooth but wiry hair of raven black, graceful arms and legs in bracelets also indicated her pure blood”.