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Thursday, 2 October 2014

Dressing-up: not just for children

Have you ever wondered how the ancient Egyptian women walked in those tight dresses you see on tomb walls or worn by statues- I have. Well, not only does it appear that tomb paintings are very unlike the actual costumes found, but a well known expert on Egyptian costume has shown that it is likely that the 'tight looking' dresses are actually draped, wrap around garments, a bit like saris. The Egypt Centre has expanded it's dressing-up activities to explain Egyptian costume to adults, and this new activity will be launched for the Welsh Museums Festival next week.

The statuette of this couple in the Egypt Centre (left) shows a man and a woman (more information here). It would appear that she is wearing a straight dress, closely fitted to the body.

To the right you can see some actual ancient Egyptian clothing on display in the National Museum of Denmark. Note how baggy it is.

A mystery? However, Egyptologist Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood has looked at folded cloth found in Egyptian tombs, and particularly at the wear and sweat patterns on them! From this she suggests that the folded cloths were actually garments worn by men as well as women.

If you visit the Egypt Centre you can have a go trying on linen cloths and draping to make the garments we see the ancient Egyptians wearing. There are pictures to help you and of course our wonderful volunteers are there to assist.

This new activity for adults was made possible through a grant from the Federation of Museums and Art Galleries in Wales.

We should also say that we have lots of other hands-on activities for both children and adults, and further information on Egyptian costumes.