The women of early Ancient Egypt of
the Middle Kingdom kept
their hair short whereas the women of the later New Kingdom kept their hair long, which they plaited and curled. The wealthy women
also wore elaborate wigs. Long hair
was dressed as plaits or
braided pony tails, and occasionally a fringe was cut. The hair of
elaborately curled and occasionally adorned with jewelry, gold strands,
flowers, beads, ribbons and hair
bands. The women had a preference for unique hairstyle which were kept
in placed with clasps and hairpins.
The hairstyles of the men in Ancient Egypt
changed little during the whole of the period which lasted over three
thousand years. Ancient Egyptian men generally kept the hair short or
shaved it off. The wealthy Egyptian men then wore highly elaborate wigs
or hair extensions.
The Egyptian Hairstyles
The Egyptian hairstyles of children consisted of a shaved head except
for one, long plaited lock which hung at the side. This lock of hair was
referred to as the 'Lock of Youth'. This hairstyle was the traditional
style worn by both boys and girls until the age of puberty. At the age
of puberty the 'Lock of Youth' was cut off and the young men then
adopted the same hairstyle as the men - short or shaved. The young girls
then kept their hair long, which they dressed as plaits or braided pony
tails, and occasionally a fringe was cut. Their hair was elaborately
curled and occasionally adorned with jewelry, beads and hair bands.
Facial and Body
The fashions and traditions relating to facial and body hair
changed during the different periods. Men of the earliest periods, up to
the Old and early Middle Kingdom were known to wear full beards and
moustaches. This fashion changed during the Later Periods of Egyptian
history and men of all roles and status adopted the clean shaven style.
The Beard of the
Despite the change of style and the new low
esteem afforded to facial hair the beard was still considered to be
sacred to the gods and therefore the Pharaohs. The beard was considered
to be a divine symbol of the gods. Depictions of Pharaohs, both the
Kings and some Queens, are seen wearing false plaited beards. These
false beards were religious symbols of the Pharaohs emphasizing their
status as a living god. The bizarre false beards were tightly knotted
and plaited and hooked behind the ears. The styles and shapes of the
beards varied from the long rectangular shape which was cut level at the
bottom to a long, narrow beard plaited like a pigtail with the end
jutting forward, such as the beard from the chin on the mask of King
Tut, Tutankhamen. They were worn on important
religious and other ceremonial occasions.
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