Clothing of the Egyptian Gods and Goddesses
Ancient Civilizations 2/14/08
By: Yona Williams
When goddesses and gods associated with the ancient belief systems of Egypt are depicted, it is the type of garments worn that signifies varying levels of power and meaning. In the beginning, all wore white dresses or a pattern that displayed a single color. Over the years, this tradition would transform into something quite different, as colors and patterns started to evolve for ancient Egyptians.
It wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t until the Greco-Roman period that outfits started to emerge in full ornamentation that greatly resembled costumes you'd see in a theater. Once the journey into the Afterlife began, the elaborate dress that mummies wore was nothing like anything see on earth. The colors and elaborate dÃƒÂ©cor were truly amazing and unique.
Popular Clothing Options
When taking a look at Re (another name for Ra), you will notice he often wears a tunic with suspenders that captured the essence of a male garment. The clothing ended above the waist and become rather popular at all times of the year. Female clothing included a dress with suspenders that ended above the waist as well. The color of choice was typically white and examples of this clothing can be seen in depictions of Hathor (originally the personification of the Milky Way Ã¢â‚¬â€œ now known as a cow deity).
A short loincloth that resembled a skirt-like piece of clothing was popular throughout the earlier times of ancient Egypt. An illustration of Asar-hap (ancient Egyptian god of resurrection and the underworld) will give you an idea of this attire. Starting in the earlier times of Egypt, the short- sleeved overall was very common and served as a tighter fit for females. Isis (wife and sister to Osiris and mother to Horus) is generally seen wearing one. A full-length dress (as seen worn by Seshat Ã¢â‚¬â€œ goddess of knowledge, wisdom, and writing) was quite unique and did not provide any sleeve coverage. This garment was set aside for goddesses and usually continued up the body to cover the neck.
Over the years, the gods placed a lot of different symbols upon their head. This would translate into grand embellishments on the heads for pharaohs or those entering the priesthood. Interestingly, taking a look at the many different crowns of ancient Egypt allows one to gain an understanding as to where the origin of some gods came from. There were also combined crowns, which represented an entire country. It was this message for the people that a god or goddess was significant to all Egyptians.
The decoration of a crown was extensive. It was not uncommon to encounter all sorts of hats and crowns that had horns, snakes, sun discs, flowers, leaves, and plumes Ã¢â‚¬â€œ all painted in bright colors as part of the display. The best presentations appeared during the Greco-Roman era, when fantasy and elaborate design was at a peak. An example of an Egyptian crown is seen in the double crown (of the whole country). The red one represented Lower Egypt ties, while the white signifies Upper Egyptian ties.
The Atef-crown was worn by Osiris and appeared with horns and a sun disc. During dynasty 18, a blue crown resembling a helmet emerged. Kings embraced this crown, which was also worn by the god called Amon (or Amun Ã¢â‚¬â€œ originally recognized as the 'god of air').