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High Fashion of Ancient Egypt: The Bead-Net Dress

High Fashion of Ancient Egypt: The Bead-Net Dress


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Fashion trends are not just a modern construction. Although historians were aware of artistic depictions of females wearing bead-net dresses, it wasn’t until the 1920s that real examples were actually discovered.

Bead-net dresses were made with thousands of beads arranged in a lozenge pattern, and although it is believed that women wore such dresses in daily life, most examples have been found in burials. These precious garments are extremely rare, as only 20 of them are known at present. They are kept in various museums around the world.

Fashionable Beads

Articles of clothing made of beads were considered to be a fashion amongst ancient Egyptian women. Priestesses, for instance, wore beaded headdresses and beaded collars. Upper class women also wore nets of faience beads across the middle third of their tunics for festive occasions. For poorer women, they had to be content with a string of beads around their waists. Unlike these bead collars and bead strings, bead-dresses are not so much accessories as they are pieces of clothing in their own right.

A beaded necklace from ancient Egypt, 664-332 BC, faience, carnelian, and limestone beads

Bead-Net Dresses

It has been suggested that bead-net dresses may have been made in one of two ways. The first is that the beads could have been sewn directly onto a woman’s linen dress as part of this piece of clothing. The second method is that the beads were strung together on a net which was then worn over a linen dress. Some of these dresses, such as the one in the possession of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, were made using blue and blue-green faience beads, which were meant to be an imitation of lapis lazuli and turquoise respectively.

The stunning bead-net dress currently on display in the Boston Museum. Photo source: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston .

Bead-Net Dresses in Art and Literature

Bead-net dresses have been found to be depicted on ancient Egyptian reliefs and statues. One example of this is a statue of the sky goddess, Nut, from the 3 rd millennium B.C. This statue depicts the goddess dressed in a piece of clothing that looks very much like a bead-net dress.

In addition, bead-net dresses are also mentioned in a piece of ancient Egyptian literature, i.e. the collection of stories known as the Three Tales of Wonder (known also as the Tales from the Westcar Papyrus ). In one of these stories, known as The Story of the Green Jewel , King Snefru was looking for entertainment in his palace, and he was advised by his chief scribe to go boating on the lake, and have for his rowers the prettiest girls in the king’s harem. In addition, these female rowers, according to one translation, were dressed in nets, presumably the bead-net dresses, instead of normal dresses, for the king’s pleasure.

A mummy covered in a bead-net ( Proletariat Fashionista )

As for actual bead-net dresses that have survived till today, these have been mostly found in tombs. For instance, the bead-net dress in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London is from a 5 th / 6 th Dynasty tomb in Qau, a city in Upper Egypt. This bead-net dress was discovered in 1923/4, and it was initially suggested that the dress might have been worn by a dancer. Around the fringes of this dress were shells plugged with small stones, which made a rattling sound when the wearer moved. Therefore, it was thought that the dress may have been used for erotic dances.

Faience, blue and black cylinder beads, 2 breast caps and 2 strings of Mitra beads. 5th Dynasty. From burial 978 at Qau (Tjebu), Egypt. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London. ( CC by SA 4.0 )

When this dress was reconstructed, however, it was found that it would have been rather heavy for a dancer to move in it, let alone dance in it. Given that the dress was found in a tomb, it has been speculated that they served a funerary function instead. The bead-net dress in the Petrie Museum is not the only one that was found in a tomb. The own in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, for example, was discovered in a tomb in Giza, and dates to the 4 th Dynasty, specifically to the reign of Khufu.


The Middle East from the 6th century

The style of costume worn throughout the Middle East has been remarkably constant for centuries. This is partly because it has evolved as one suited to the climate, serving as a protection against heat, dust, and blazing sunshine. The wearing of traditional clothing has also been accepted and supported by many Muslim countries.

The traditional garments of the Middle East are loose-fitting and cover or even envelop much of the body. The names of these garments vary from country to country, but the similarity between them is clear. Likewise the materials from which they were, and still are, made vary according to what is available. In general, linen, cotton, and wool are the norm, but the well-to-do have always worn garments made from rich fabrics with a silk base. Several of the most famous of these materials originated in this area, including baldachin, the richly decorated fabric with a warp of gold thread and a weft of silk, named after the city of Baghdad, and damask, named after Damascus (in Syria), the source of this richly patterned silk fabric.

A number of the traditional garments were originally derived from ancient cultures in the region, particularly from Persia (Iran) and farther east in India, Mongolia, and Asian Russia. The caftan is one such example. It is an open, coatlike garment, termed in ancient Persia a candys or kandys. Also worn extensively in the cooler climates of Mongolia and China, the style extended westward to become, eventually, the fashionable dolman of the late Ottoman Empire.

The spread of the characteristic costume of the Middle East was due in large part to the spread of Arab peoples and cultures. The people of the Arabian Desert were by the 6th century ce leading a stable, rural life in the border areas of Yemen, Syria, and Iraq in the interior region they were largely Bedouin nomads raising camel herds for a living. By 750 ce the Arab empire extended from Spain and Morocco in the west to the Caspian Sea and the Indus River in the east. The chief garments worn at that time were a loose shirt, chemise, or robe a draped cloak wide, baggy trousers and a head cloth or turban. Similar versions of these may still be seen on the streets of Cairo, Istanbul, or Damascus.

The simple basic garment for both sexes was a loose, long shirt, chemise, or tunic, which often had long sleeves. Over this men wore a robe or mantle of various types. The aba (ʿabāʾ or abaya) was of ancient origin and is mentioned in the Bible as the attire of Hebrew prophets. It was traditionally made of heavy cream-coloured wool decorated with brightly coloured stripes or embroidery. A voluminous outer gown still worn throughout the Middle East in the Arab world is the jellaba, known as the jellabah in Tunisia, a jubbeh in Syria, a gallibiya in Egypt, or a dishdasha in Algeria. The garment generally has wide, long sleeves, and the long skirt may be slit up the sides some styles are open in front like a coat or caftan.

Outer gowns or cloaks sometimes incorporated head coverings. These included the haik, which was an oblong piece of material (generally striped) that the Arabs used to wrap around their bodies and heads for day or night wear the material measured about 18 feet by 6 feet (5.5 by 1.8 metres). A similar mantle was the burnous, a hooded garment also used for warmth day or night.

The loose, baggy trousers traditional to the Middle East, as well as to the Balkans and Anatolia, are still widely worn by both sexes. The garment is believed to have originated in Persia, and it is presumed that the Arabs saw it there when they invaded that country in the 7th century. The trousers, called chalvar, chalwar, or ṣalvar according to the country where they were worn, measured about 3 yards (2.75 metres) across at the waist and were drawn tight by cords. The full, leg portion was tied at each ankle. A broad sash then encircled the waist, on top of the chalvar. Worn in this way the garment was ideal for working in the fields because it allowed freedom of movement and protected the lumbar region of the spine, especially while bending, from chills. For centuries the garment has also been adopted by men in the fighting forces. Cotton is the usual material for working attire, but fashionable ladies wear a chalvar made from a brocade or silk fabric over linen drawers.

The tradition for women to cover themselves from head to toe and veil their faces when they go out in public is an old one, predating Islam in Persia, Syria, and Anatolia. The Qurʾān provides instructions giving guidance on this matter but not a strict ruling. However, some modern regimes have insisted on the strict veiling of women in public. The enveloping cloaks worn by women for this purpose are similar to one another and often incorporate a mesh panel through which women may peer at the world outside. The most common names for this garment are burka, chador, chādar, chadri, çarşaf, and tcharchaf.

The characteristic masculine Arab headdress has been the kaffiyeh. It is still worn today, although it may now accompany a business suit. Basically, the kaffiyeh is a square of cotton, linen, wool, or silk, either plain or patterned, that is folded into a triangle and placed upon the head so that one point falls on to each shoulder and the third down the back. It is held in place on the head by the agal (igal, egal), a corded band decorated with beads or metallic threads.

Footwear was in the form of sandals, shoes, or boots, with the toes slightly turned up. Women traditionally wore decorative wooden pattens called kub-kobs to walk about in muddy unpaved streets.


Egypt clothing

The clothes were generally made of linen and kept quite simple- a short cloth resembling a kilt for men, a dress with straps for women. These basic clothing with minor variations accounting for fashion, in Egypt's history. Because very little sewing was done, the cloth was wrapped round the body and held in place by a belt

Amazing pictures from the period

Mostly women made the clothing as It was generally done at home, but there were workshops run by noblemen or other men of means also to make clothing

The Ancient Egyptians went barefoot most of the time but wore sandals for special occasions or if their feet were likely to get hurt.The sandals worn by the poor were made of woven papyrus or palm while those worn by the rich were made of leather.

A Sandal from Ancient Egypt

The male gods usually wore 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. The females of the time tried to be represented as a God so they would wear clothing like the goddess, witch included a dress with suspenders that ended above the waist as well. The color of choice was typically white.

The Gods of Ancient Egypy

Ancient Egyptian children did not wear clothes until they were about six years old then they would wear the same clothes as men and women did.


Menswear

The most significant development in men’s fashion occurred in two unique kinds of trousers: the Oxford bags and the plus-fours. Oxford bags grew in popularity around 1924-25 when undergraduates at Oxford adopted these wide-legged trousers. Though the origin of the style is contentious, it is generally agreed that it derived from the trousers that rowers on Oxford’s crew teams pulled on over their shorts, and you can see how The Bystander satirized this in 1924 (Fig. 2). The original style was about 22 inches wide at the bottom, several inches wider than the average men’s trouser leg. Oxford undergraduates began wearing these around the university and soon the style spread. As the style spread, so too did the width of the trouser legs until at one point they reached up to 44 inches wide. The trousers were made out of flannel and came in a variety of colors. They were mostly worn by youths – perhaps the male counterparts of the flapper – and became a favorite of Britain’s “Bright Young People,” a group of wealthy, aristocrats known for their antics in London’s nightlife.

The other development in menswear in the twenties was the plus-fours. Plus-fours developed out of ordinary knickers – short-legged trousers that gather around the knee – and like Oxford bags were a bit baggier version of their precursor. They had four extra inches of material (hence the name) but instead of extending the trouser leg, they still fastened around the knee and the extra material hung over the band, creating the baggy look as seen at a racecourse in 1920 (Fig. 3). Often worn with a sweater, plus-fours were popular golf attire, but much like how tennis-wear crept into casual womenswear, this style was also popular daywear for men, as was tennis-wear for men, too. You can see the casual way men dressed to play tennis, though some still wore ties in 1920 (Fig. 4).

Fig. 1 - Artist unknown. Fashion Plate, 1920-1939. New York: Costume Institute Fashion Plates. Source: The Met Digital Collections


Egyptian Clothing - What Clothing Did Egyptians Wear?

Fashion of Ancient Egyptian, which refers to clothing worn from the end of the Neolithic period IN 3100 BC to the end of the Ptolemaic in 30 BC, was basically influenced by the technology of the time as well as fashion ideas, and by climate of the Egypt. Clothes were mainly made by women at home and at workshops run by noblemen.

Clothing of Ancient Egyptian was mainly made of linen which is a textile made of flax fibers that were spun, weaved and sewed. Linen was then dyed with plant dyes but was most often left in its natural color. Linen had quality ranging from the finest woven linen, the byssus for royalty, to the coarse cloth made for peasants. Wool was also known as a material but, because it was considered taboo, it was used rarely, e.g. for coats, and were forbidden in some places like in temples and sanctuaries because wool was considered impure. Animal fibers were also reserved for the wealthy. Lower classes, like peasants, workers and slaves, often wore nothing or a shenti made of flax.

Men of the Old Kingdom, a period that began about 2130 BC, wore the shendyt, a type of wraparound short skirt which they belted at the waist and were sometimes pleated or gathered in the front. As the time went, skirts became longer and sometimes worn with shorter skirt underneath called the kalasiris. This shorter skirt was worn by both women and men. After these, somewhere around 1420 BC, men started wearing light tunics or blouses with sleeves. How elaborate his kilt was showed wealth of the wearer as well as how fine the linen was used to make it.

Women wore more conservative clothing than men. They wore wore simple sheath dresses whose length depended on the social class of the wearer and were held up by one or two straps and whose upper edge was worn above or below the breasts. Dresses were decorated with beadings or feathers. Women also wore shawls, capes, or robes over the dresses.

Egyptians were usually barefoot but, on special occasions, both genders wore the same type of footwear - the sandals made from leather. For priestly class were reserved sandals made of papyrus.

Children didn’t wear clothes until they turned six years old but they wore jewelry such as anklets, bracelets and collars. After that they got clothes which protected them from the harsh climate.

Men and women of higher class shaved their heads and wore wigs made from human and horse hair and decorated.

Pharaohs wore half-pleated kilt wound around the body with a pleated section drawn to the front. Pharaohs also wore, as symbols of power, leopard skins over their shoulders and a lion’s tail hanging from their belt. On their heads they wore the nemes head dress while the nobility wore the khat or head cloth.

Fashion of Ancient Egypt didn’t change much over millennia. Clothes were very simple in construction but again had esthetic value and were different for higher and lower classes.


Contents

The development of textile and clothing manufacture in prehistory has been the subject of a number of scholarly studies since the late 20th century. [3] [4] These sources have helped to provide a coherent history of these prehistoric developments. Evidence suggests that humans may have begun wearing clothing as far back as 100,000 to 500,000 years ago. [5]

Early adoption of apparel Edit

Genetic analysis suggests that the human body louse, which lives in clothing, may only have diverged from the head louse some 170,000 years ago, which supports evidence that humans began wearing clothing at around this time. These estimates predate the first known human exodus from Africa, although other hominid species who may have worn clothes – and shared these louse infestations – appear to have migrated earlier.

Sewing needles have been dated to at least 50,000 years ago (Denisova Cave, Siberia) – and uniquely associated [ clarification needed ] with a human species other than modern humans, i.e. H. Denisova/H. Altai. The oldest possible example is 60,000 years ago, a needle point (missing stem and eye) found in Sibudu Cave, South Africa. Other early examples of needles dating from 41,000 to 15,000 years ago are found in multiple locations, e.g. Slovenia, Russia, China, Spain, and France.

The earliest dyed flax fibres have been found in a prehistoric cave in Georgia and date back to 36,000. [6]

The 25,000-year-old Venus Figurine "Venus of Lespugue", found in southern France in the Pyrenees, depicts a cloth or twisted fiber skirt. Other figurines [ which? ] from western Europe were adorned with basket hats or caps, belts were worn at the waist, and a strap of cloth that wrapped around the body right above the breast. Eastern European figurines wore belts, hung low on the hips and sometimes string skirts.

Archaeologists have discovered artifacts from the same period that appear to have been used in the textile arts: (5000 BC) net gauges, spindle needles, and weaving sticks. [ citation needed ]

Knowledge of ancient textiles and clothing has expanded in the recent past due to modern technological developments. [7] The first actual textile, as opposed to skins sewn together, was probably felt. [ citation needed ] The first known textile of South America was discovered in Guitarrero Cave in Peru. It was woven out of vegetable fibers and dates back to 8,000 B.C.E. [8] Surviving examples of Nålebinding, another early textile method, have been found in Israel, and date from 6500 BC. [9]

Looms Edit

From pre-history through the early Middle Ages, for most of Europe, the Near East and North Africa, two main types of loom dominate textile production. These are the warp-weighted loom and the two-beam loom. The length of the cloth beam determined the width of the cloth woven upon it, and could be as wide as 2–3 meters. The second loom type is the two-beam loom. [10] Early woven clothing was often made of full loom widths draped, tied, or pinned in place.

Preservation Edit

Our knowledge of cultures varies greatly with the climatic conditions to which archeological deposits are exposed the Middle East and the arid fringes of China have provided many very early samples in good condition, but the early development of textiles in the Indian subcontinent, sub-Saharan Africa and other moist parts of the world remains unclear. In northern Eurasia, peat bogs can also preserve textiles very well.

The textile trade in the ancient world Edit

Throughout the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, the fertile grounds of the Eurasian Steppe provided a venue for a network of nomadic communities to develop and interact. The Steppe Route has always connected regions of the Asian continent with trade and transmission of culture, including clothing.

Around 114 BC, the Han Dynasty, [11] initiated the Silk Road Trade Route. Geographically, the Silk Road or Silk Route is an interconnected series of ancient trade routes between Chang'an (today's Xi'an) in China, with Asia Minor and the Mediterranean extending over 8,000 km (5,000 mi) on land and sea. Trade on the Silk Road was a significant factor in the development of the great civilizations of China, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, the Indian subcontinent, and Rome, and helped to lay the foundations for the modern world. The exchange of luxury textiles was predominant on the Silk Road, which linked traders, merchants, pilgrims, monks, soldiers, nomads and urban dwellers from China to the Mediterranean Sea during various periods of time.

Ancient Near East Edit

The earliest known woven textiles of the Near East may be flax fabrics used to wrap the dead, excavated at a Neolithic site at Çatalhöyük in Anatolia, carbonized, and "protected by several layers of clay/plaster, in an anaerobic milieu. They were 'baked', or 'steam cooked'" [12] in a fire and radiocarbon dated to c. 6000 BC. [13] Evidence exists of flax cultivation from c. 8000 BC in the Near East, but the breeding of sheep with a wooly fleece rather than hair occurs much later, c. 3000 BC. [13]

In Mesopotamia, the clothing of a regular Sumerian was very simple, especially in summer, in the winter wearing clothes made of sheep fur. Even wealthy men were depicted with naked torsos, wearing just some kind of short skirt, known as kaunakes, while women wore long dress to their ankles. The king wore a tunic, a coat that reached to his knees, with a belt in the middle. Over time, the development of the craft of wool weaving has led to a great variety in clothing. Thus, towards the end of the 3rd millennium BC and later the men wore a tunic with short sleeves and even over the knees, with a belt (over which the rich wore a wool cloak). Women's dresses featured more varied designs: with or without sleeves, narrow or wide, usually long and without highlighting the body [14]

A possible bone belt hook found in the Bronze Age layers of Yanik Tepe, from northeast of Lake Urmia (Iran)

Sumerian Statues of worshippers (males and females) 2800-2400 BC (Early Dynastic period) National Museum of Iraq (Baghdad)

The god Abu (?) and a female statuette 2800-2400 BC (Early Dynastic period) from the Square Temple of Abu at Tell Asmar (ancient Eshnunna (Iraq)) National Museum of Iraq. The loin-cloth has become recognizably a skirt and the twisted tufts have shrunk to a fringe [15]

The Statue of Ebih-Il c. 2400 BCE gypsum, schist, shells and lapis lazuli height: 52.5 cm Louvre (Paris)

Ancient India Edit

Excavations of Indus Valley Civilisation sites to date have yielded a few twisted cotton threads, in the context of a connecting cord, for a bead necklace. [16] However, a Terracotta figurines uncovered at Mehrgarh show a male figure wearing what is commonly interpreted to be a turban. A figurines, labelled the "Priest King", from the site of Mohenjo-daro, depicts the wearing of a shawl with floral patterns. So far, this is the only sculpture from the Indus Valley to show clothing in such explicit detail. Other sculptures of Dancing Girls, excavated from Mohenjo-daro, only show the wearing of bangles and other jewellery. [17] However, it does not provide any concrete proof to legitimize the history of clothing in the Harappan times. Harappans may even have used natural colours to dye their fabric. Research shows that the cultivation of indigo plants (genus: Indigofera) was prevalent.

Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian, mentions Indian cotton in the 5th century BCE as "a wool exceeding in beauty and goodness that of sheep." When Alexander the Great invaded India, in 327 BCE, his troops started wearing cotton clothes that were more comfortable than their previous woolen ones. [18] Strabo, another Greek historian, mentioned the vividness of Indian fabrics, and Arrian told of Indian–Arab trade of cotton fabrics in 130 CE. [19]

Statue of "Priest King" wearing a robe 2400–1900 BCE low fired steatite National Museum of Pakistan (Karachi)

The Didarganj Yakshi depicting the dhoti wrap circa 300 BC Bihar Museum (India)

The Buddha wearing kāṣāya robes circa 200 BC Tokyo National Museum (Japan)

Ancient form of Churidar worn during the Gupta period circa 300 AD National Museum (New Delhi)

Painting on wooden panel discovered by Aurel Stein in Dandan Oilik, depicting the legend of the princess who hid silk worm eggs in her headdress to smuggle them out of China to the Kingdom of Khotan 7th to 8th century British Museum (London)

Ancient Egypt Edit

Evidence exists for production of linen cloth in Ancient Egypt in the Neolithic period, c. 5500 BC. Cultivation of domesticated wild flax, probably an import from the Levant, is documented as early as c. 6000 BC. Other bast fibers including rush, reed, palm, and papyrus were used alone or with linen to make rope and other textiles. Evidence for wool production in Egypt is scanty at this period. [20]

Spinning techniques included the drop spindle, hand-to-hand spinning, and rolling on the thigh yarn was also spliced. [20] A horizontal ground loom was used prior to the New Kingdom, when a vertical two-beam loom was introduced, probably from Asia.

Linen bandages were used in the burial custom of mummification, and art depicts Egyptian men wearing linen kilts and women in narrow dresses with various forms of shirts and jackets, often of sheer pleated fabric. [20]

Pair of sandals 1390–1352 BC grass, reed and papyrus Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)

Illustration from the book Ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, and Persian costumes and decorations

Illustration of a Goddess from Ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, and Persian costumes and decorations

Statue of Sobekhotep VI, who wears the Egyptian male skirt, the shendyt, from Neues Museum (Berlin, Germany)

Ancient China Edit

The earliest evidence of silk production in China was found at the sites of Yangshao culture in Xia, Shanxi, where a cocoon of bombyx mori, the domesticated silkworm, cut in half by a sharp knife is dated to between 5000 and 3000 BC. Fragments of primitive looms are also seen from the sites of Hemudu culture in Yuyao, Zhejiang, dated to about 4000 BC. Scraps of silk were found in a Liangzhu culture site at Qianshanyang in Huzhou, Zhejiang, dating back to 2700 BC. [21] [22] Other fragments have been recovered from royal tombs in the [Shang Dynasty] (c. 1600 – c. 1046 BC). [23]

Under the Shang Dynasty, Han Chinese clothing or Hanfu consisted of a yi, a narrow-cuffed, knee-length tunic tied with a sash, and a narrow, ankle-length skirt, called shang, worn with a bixi, a length of fabric that reached the knees. Clothing of the elite was made of silk in vivid primary colours.

Painting of Emperor Yao wearing a shenyi

Woven silk textile from the Mawangdui in Changsha (Hunan province, China), from the 2nd century BC

The mianfu of Emperor Wu of Jin dynasty, 7th-century painting by court artist Yan Liben

Ancient Thailand Edit

The earliest evidence of spinning in Thailand can be found at the archaeological site of Tha Kae located in Central Thailand. Tha Kae was inhabited during the end of the first millennium BC to the late first millennium AD. Here, archaeologists discovered 90 fragments of a spindle whorl dated from 3rd century BC to 3rd century AD. And the shape of these finds indicate the connections with south China and India. [24]

Ancient Japan Edit

The earliest evidence of weaving in Japan is associated with the Jōmon period. This culture is defined by pottery decorated with cord patterns. In a shell mound in the Miyagi Prefecture, dating back about 5,500, some cloth fragments were discovered made from bark fibers. [25] Hemp fibers were also discovered in the Torihama shell mound, Fukui Prefecture, dating back to the Jōmon period, suggesting that these plants could also have been used for clothing. Some pottery pattern imprints depict also fine mat designs, proving their weaving techniques. The patterns on the Jōmon pottery show people wearing short upper garments, close-fitting trousers, funnel-sleeves, and rope-like belts. The depictions also show clothing with patterns that are embroidered or painted arched designs, though it is not apparent whether this indicates what the clothes look like or whether that simply happens to be the style of representation used. The pottery also shows no distinction between male and female garments. This may have been true because during that time period clothing was more for decoration than social distinction, but it might also just be because of the representation on the pottery rather than how people actually dressed at the time. Since bone needles were also found, it is assumed that they wore dresses that were sewn together. [26]

Next was the Yayoi period, during which rice cultivation was developed. This led to a shift from hunter-gatherer communities to agrarian societies which had a large impact on clothing. According to Chinese literature from that time period, clothing more appropriate to agriculture began to be worn. For example, an unsewn length of fabric wrapped around the body, or a poncho-type garment with a head-hole cut into it. This same literature also indicates that pink or scarlet makeup was worn but also that mannerisms between people of all ages and genders were not very different. However, this is debatable as there were probably cultural prejudices in the Chinese document. There is a common Japanese belief that the Yayoi time period was quite utopian before Chinese influence began to promote the use of clothing to indicate age and gender.

From 300 to 550 AD was the Yamato period, and here much of the clothing style can be derived from the artifacts of the time. The tomb statues (haniwa) especially tell us that the clothing style changed from the ones according to the Chinese accounts from the previous age. The statues are usually wearing a two piece outfit that has an upper piece with a front opening and close-cut sleeves with loose trousers for men and a pleated skirt for women. Silk farming had been introduced by the Chinese by this time period but due to silk's cost it would only be used by people of certain classes or ranks.

The following periods were the Asuka (550 to 646 AD) and Nara (646 to 794 AD) when Japan developed a more unified government and began to use Chinese laws and social rankings. These new laws required people to wear different styles and colors to indicate social status. Clothing became longer and wider in general and sewing methods were more advanced. [27]

Classical Period of the Philippines Edit

The classical Filipino clothing varied according to cost and current fashions and so indicated social standing. The basic garments were the Bahag and the tube skirt—what the Maranao call malong—or a light blanket wrapped around instead. But more prestigious clothes, lihin-lihin, were added for public appearances and especially on formal occasions—blouses and tunics, loose smocks with sleeves, capes, or ankle-length robes. The textiles of which they were made were similarly varied. In ascending order of value, they were abaca, abaca decorated with colored cotton thread, cotton, cotton decorated with silk thread, silk, imported printstuff, and an elegant abaca woven of selected fibers almost as thin as silk. In addition, Pigafetta mentioned both G-strings and skirts of bark cloth.

Untailored clothes, however had no particular names. Pandong, a lady's cloak, simply meant any natural covering, like the growth on banana trunk's or a natal caul. In Panay, the word kurong, meaning curly hair, was applied to any short skirt or blouse and some better ones made of imported chintz or calico were simply called by the name of the cloth itself, tabas. So, too, the wraparound skirt the Tagalogs called tapis was hardly considered a skirt at all: Visayans just called it habul (woven stuff) or halong (abaca) or even hulun (sash).

The usual male headdress was the pudong, a turban, though in Panay both men and women also wore a head cloth or bandana called saplung. Commoners wore pudong of rough abaca cloth wrapped around only a few turns so that it was more of a headband than a turban and was therefore called pudong-pudong—as the crowns and diadems on Christian images were later called. A red pudong was called magalong, and was the insignia of braves who had killed an enemy. The most prestigious kind of pudong, limited to the most valiant, was, like their G-strings, made of pinayusan, a gauze-thin abaca of fibers selected for their whiteness, tie-dyed a deep scarlet in patterns as fine as embroidery, and burnished to a silky sheen. Such pudong were lengthened with each additional feat of valor: real heroes therefore let one end hang loose with affected carelessness. Women generally wore a kerchief, called tubatub if it was pulled tight over the whole head but they also had a broad-brimmed hat called sayap or tarindak, woven of sago-palm leaves. Some were evidently signs of rank: when Humabon's queen went to hear mass during Magellan's visit, she was preceded by three girls carrying one of her hats. A headdress from Cebu with a deep crown, used by both sexes for travel on foot or by boat, was called sarok, which actually meant to go for water. [28]

Classical Greece Edit

Fabric in Ancient Greece was woven on a warp-weighted loom. The first extant image of weaving in western art is from a terracotta lekythos in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. The vase, c. 550-530 B.C.E., depicts two women weaving at an upright loom. The warp threads, which run vertically to a bar at the top, are tied together with weights at the bottom, which hold them taut. The woman on the right runs the shuttle containing the weaving thread across the middle of the warp. The woman on the left uses a beater to consolidate the already-woven threads. [29]

Dress in classical antiquity favored wide, unsewn lengths of fabric, pinned and draped to the body in various ways.

Ancient Greek clothing consisted of lengths of wool or linen, generally rectangular and secured at the shoulders with ornamented pins called fibulae and belted with a sash. Typical garments were the peplos, a loose robe worn by women the chlamys, a cloak worn by men and the chiton, a tunic worn by both men and women. Men's chitons hung to the knees, whereas women's chitons fell to their ankles. A long cloak called a himation was worn over the peplos or chlamys.

The toga of ancient Rome was also an unsewn length of wool cloth, worn by male citizens draped around the body in various fashions, over a simple tunic. Early tunics were two simple rectangles joined at the shoulders and sides later tunics had sewn sleeves. Women wore the draped stola or an ankle-length tunic, with a shawl-like palla as an outer garment. Wool was the preferred fabric, although linen, hemp, and small amounts of expensive imported silk and cotton were also worn.

Iron Age Europe Edit

The Iron Age is broadly identified as stretching from the end of the Bronze Age around 1200 BC to 500 AD and the beginning of the Medieval period. Bodies and clothing have been found from this period, preserved by the anaerobic and acidic conditions of peat bogs in northwestern Europe. A Danish recreation of clothing found with such bodies indicates woven wool dresses, tunics and skirts. [30] These were largely unshaped and held in place with leather belts and metal brooches or pins. Garments were not always plain, but incorporated decoration with contrasting colours, particularly at the ends and edges of the garment. Men wore breeches, possibly with lower legs wrapped for protection, although Boucher states that long trousers have also been found. [31] Warmth came from woollen shawls and capes of animal skin, probably worn with the fur facing inwards for added comfort. Caps were worn, also made from skins, and there was an emphasis on hair arrangements, from braids to elaborate Suebian knots. [32] Soft laced shoes made from leather protected the foot.

The history of Medieval European clothing and textiles has inspired a good deal of scholarly interest in the 21st century. Elisabeth Crowfoot, Frances Pritchard, and Kay Staniland authored Textiles and Clothing: Medieval Finds from Excavations in London, c.1150-c.1450 (Boydell Press, 2001). The topic is also the subject of an annual series, Medieval Clothing and Textiles (Boydell Press), edited by Robin Netherton and Gale R. Owen-Crocker, Emeritus Professor of Anglo-Saxon Culture at the University of Manchester.

Byzantium Edit

The Byzantines made and exported very richly patterned cloth, woven and embroidered for the upper classes, and resist-dyed and printed for the lower. [33] By Justinian's time the Roman toga had been replaced by the tunica, or long chiton, for both sexes, over which the upper classes wore various other garments, like a dalmatica (dalmatic), a heavier and shorter type of tunica short and long cloaks were fastened on the right shoulder.

Leggings and hose were often worn, but are not prominent in depictions of the wealthy they were associated with barbarians, whether European or Persian. [34]

Early medieval Europe Edit

European dress changed gradually in the years 400 to 1100. People in many countries dressed differently depending on whether they identified with the old Romanised population, or the new invading populations such as Franks, Anglo-Saxons, and Visigoths. Men of the invading peoples generally wore short tunics, with belts, and visible trousers, hose or leggings. The Romanised populations, and the Church, remained faithful to the longer tunics of Roman formal costume. [35]

The elite imported silk cloth from the Byzantine, and later Muslim, worlds, and also probably cotton. They also could afford bleached linen and dyed and simply patterned wool woven in Europe itself. But embroidered decoration was probably very widespread, though not usually detectable in art. Lower classes wore local or homespun wool, often undyed, trimmed with bands of decoration, variously embroidery, tablet-woven bands, or colorful borders woven into the fabric in the loom. [36] [37]

High Middle Ages and the rise of fashion Edit

Clothing in 12th and 13th century Europe remained very simple for both men and women, and quite uniform across the subcontinent. The traditional combination of short tunic with hose for working-class men and long tunic with overdress for women and upper-class men remained the norm. Most clothing, especially outside the wealthier classes, remained little changed from three or four centuries earlier. [38]

The 13th century saw great progress in the dyeing and working of wool, which was by far the most important material for outerwear. Linen was increasingly used for clothing that was directly in contact with the skin. Unlike wool, linen could be laundered and bleached in the sun. Cotton, imported raw from Egypt and elsewhere, was used for padding and quilting, and cloths such as buckram and fustian.

Crusaders returning from the Levant brought knowledge of its fine textiles, including light silks, to Western Europe. In Northern Europe, silk was an imported and very expensive luxury. [39] The well-off could afford woven brocades from Italy or even further afield. Fashionable Italian silks of this period featured repeating patterns of roundels and animals, deriving from Ottoman silk-weaving centres in Bursa, and ultimately from Yuan Dynasty China via the Silk Road. [40]

Cultural and costume historians agree that the mid-14th century marks the emergence of recognizable "fashion" in Europe. [41] [42] From this century onwards, Western fashion changed at a pace quite unknown to other civilizations, whether ancient or contemporary. [43] In most other cultures, only major political changes, such as the Muslim conquest of India, produced radical changes in clothing, and in China, Japan, and the Ottoman Empire fashion changed only slightly over periods of several centuries. [44]

In this period, the draped garments and straight seams of previous centuries were replaced by curved seams and the beginnings of tailoring, which allowed clothing to more closely fit the human form, as did the use of lacing and buttons. [45] A fashion for mi-parti or parti-coloured garments made of two contrasting fabrics, one on each side, arose for men in mid-century, [46] and was especially popular at the English court. Sometimes just the hose would have different colours on each leg.


Facts About Ancient Egyptian Fashion

  • Ancient Egyptians fashion was practical and mostly unisex
  • Egyptian clothing was woven from linen and later cotton
  • Women wore ankle-length, sheath dresses.
  • Early Dynastic Period c. 3150 – c. 2613 BCE lower class men and women wore simple knee-length kilts
  • Upper-class women’s dresses began below their breasts and fell to her ankles
  • In the Middle Kingdom, women began wearing flowing cotton dresses and adopted a new hairstyle
  • New Kingdom c. 1570-1069 BCE introduced sweeping changes in fashion featuring flowing ankle-length dresses with winged sleeves and a wide collar
  • During this time, the professions began to differentiate themselves by adopting distinctive modes of dress
  • Slippers and sandals were popular amongst the wealthy while the lower classes went barefoot.

Fashion In Egypt’s Early Dynastic Period And Old Kingdom

Surviving images and tomb wall paintings dating from Egypt’s Early Dynastic Period (c. 3150 – c. 2613 BCE) portray men and women from Egypt’s poorer classes wearing a similar form of dress. This consisted of a plain kilt falling to roughly around the knee. Egyptologists speculate this kilt was a light colour or possibly white.

Materials ranged from cotton, byssus a type of flax or linen. The kilt was fastened at the waist with a cloth, leather or papyrus rope belt.

Around this time Egyptians from the upper class dressed similarly, the main difference being the amount of ornamentation incorporated in their clothes. Men drawn from the more affluent classes could only be differentiated from artisans and farmers by their jewellery.

Fashions, which bared a women’s breasts, were common. An upper-class women’s dress could begin below her breasts and fall to her ankles. These dresses were figure-fitting and came with either with sleeves or sleeveless. Their dress was secured by straps running across the shoulders and occasionally completed with a sheer tunic thrown over the dress. Working-class women’s skirts were worn without a top. They started at the waist and dropped to the knees. This created a greater degree of differentiation between upper class and lower-class women than was the case for men. Children commonly went naked from birth until they hit puberty.

Fashion In Egypt’s First Intermediate Period And Middle Kingdom

While the transition to Egypt’s First Intermediate Period (c. 2181-2040 BCE) triggered seismic changes in Egyptian culture, fashion remained comparatively unchanged. Only with the advent of the Middle Kingdom did Egyptian fashion change. Women begin wearing flowing cotton dresses and adopted a new hairstyle.

Gone was the fashion for women to wear their hair cropped slightly below their ears. Now women began wearing their hair down onto their shoulders. Most clothing during this time was made from cotton. While their dresses, remained form-fitting, sleeves appeared more frequently and many dresses featured a deeply plunging neckline with a highly ornamental necklace worn around their throat. Constructed from a length of cotton cloth, the woman wrapped herself in her dress before completed her look with a belt and a blouse over the top of the dress.

We also have some evidence that upper-class women wore dresses, which fell ankle length from the waist and were secured by narrow straps running over the breasts and shoulders before fastening at the back. Men continued wearing their simple kilts but added pleats to their kilts front.

Amongst upper-class men, a triangular apron in the form of a richly embellished highly starched kilt, which stopped above the knees and was fastened with a sash proved to be very popular.

Fashion In Egypt’s New Kingdom

With the emergence of Egypt’s New Kingdom (c. 1570-1069 BCE) came the most sweeping changes in fashion during the entire sweep of Egyptian history. These fashions are the ones we are familiar with from countless movie and television treatments.

New Kingdom fashion styles grew increasingly elaborate. Ahmose-Nefertari (c. 1562-1495 BCE), Ahmose I’s wife, is shown wearing a dress, which flows to ankle length and features winged sleeves together with a wide collar. Dresses embellished with jewels and ornately beaded gowns begin appearing amongst the upper classes in Egypt’s late Middle Kingdom but became far more common during the New Kingdom. Elaborate wigs embellished with jewels and beads were also worn more frequently.

Perhaps the major innovation in fashions during the New Kingdom was the capelet. Made from sheer linen, this shawl type cape, formed a linen rectangle folded, twisted or cut, fastened to a richly ornate collar. It was worn over a gown, which usually either fell from below the breast or from the waist. It quickly became a massively popular fashion statement amongst Egypt’s upper classes.

The New Kingdom also saw changes take shape in men’s fashion. Kilts were now below knee-length, featured elaborate embroidery, and were often augmented with a loose fitting, sheer blouse with complex pleated sleeves.

Large panels of intricately pleated woven fabric hung from around their waist. These pleats showed through the translucent overskirts, which accompanied them. This fashion trend was popular amongst royalty and the upper classes, which were able to afford the lavish amount of material required for the look.

Both sexes amongst Egypt’s poor and working-class still wore their simple traditional kilts. However, now more working class women are being depicted with their tops covered. In the New Kingdom, many servants are depicted as completely clothed and wearing elaborate dresses. By contrast, previously, Egyptian servants had been shown as naked in tomb art.

Underwear also evolved during this time from a rough, triangle-shaped loincloth to a more refined item of fabric either tied around the hips or tailored to fit the waist size. Affluent New Kingdom men’s fashion was for underwear to be worn underneath the traditional loincloth, which was covered with a flowing transparent shirt falling to just above the knee. This attire was complemented by amongst the nobility with a broad neckpiece bracelets and finally, sandals completed the ensemble.

Egyptian women and men frequently shaved their heads to combat lice infestations and save the time needed to groom their natural hair. Both sexes wore wigs during ceremonial occasions and to protect their scalp. In the New Kingdom wigs, especially women’s became elaborate and ostentatious. We see images of fringes, pleats, and layered hairstyles frequently tumbling down around the shoulders or even longer.

During this time, the professions began to differentiate themselves by adopting distinctive modes of dress. Priests wore white linen robes as white symbolized purity and the divine. Viziers preferred a long embroidered skirt, which fell to the ankles and closed under the arms. They paired their skirt with slippers or sandals. Scribes opted for a simple kilt with an optional sheer blouse. Soldiers were also clothed in a kilt with wrist guards and sandals completing their uniform.

Cloaks, coats and jackets were common were necessary to ward off the chill of desert temperatures, particularly during the cold nights and during Egypt’s rainy season.

Egyptian Footwear Fashions

Footwear was to all intents and purposes non-existent amongst Egypt’s lower classes. However, when crossing rough terrain or during spells of cold weather they appear to have simply bound their feet in rags. Slippers and sandals were popular amongst the wealthy although many opted to go barefoot as did the working classes and the poor.

Sandals were typically fashioned from leather, papyrus, wood or some mixture of materials and were comparatively expensive. Some of the best examples we have today of Egyptian slippers come from Tutankhamun‘s tomb. It held 93 pairs of sandals demonstrating a range of styles with one notable pair being made from gold. Fashioned from papyrus rushes braided tightly together slippers could be given cloth interiors for added comfort.

Egyptologists have uncovered some evidence that the New Kingdom nobility wore shoes. They similarly found evidence supporting the presence of silk fabric, however, this appears to have been extremely rare. Some historians speculate shoes were adopted from the Hittites who wore boots and shoes around this time. Shoes never gained popular acceptance amongst Egyptian as they were seen as an unnecessary effort, given that even the Egyptian gods walked barefoot.

Reflecting On The Past

Fashion in ancient Egypt was shockingly skimpy and unisex than their modern contemporaries. Utilitarian design and simple fabrics reflect the effect climate had on Egyptian fashion choices.

Header image courtesy: by Albert Kretschmer, painters and costumer to the Royal Court Theatre, Berin, and Dr. Carl Rohrbach. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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Fashion & Dress in Ancient Egypt

  • The First Intermediate Period of Egypt (c
  • 2181-2040 BCE) followed the collapse of the Old Kingdom and initiated many dramatic changes in the Egyptian culture but fashion remained relatively the same
  • It is only in the Middle Kingdom of Egypt (2040-1782 BCE) that fashion changes as women begin to wear long cotton gowns and different hairstyles.

Fashion And Clothing In Ancient Egypt

  • Fashion in Ancient Egypt Ancient Egyptian fashion consisted of clothes adorned with a variety of colors and precious gems and jewels
  • While fashion in Ancient Egypt was primarily constructed for the purpose of comfort, this did not mean that ancient Egyptians felt …

Egyptian Fashion History Timeline

  • The Fashion History Timeline is a project by FIT’s History of Art Department.The Timeline offers scholarly contributions to the public knowledge of the history of fashion and design
  • Consistent with this mission, the Timeline’s written commentary, research, and analysis provided by FIT students, faculty, and other members of the community is licensed under a Creative Commons …

Egyptian Clothing: Pharaohs to Commoners

  • Egyptian clothing was made from locally-sourced materials—as were clothes from all ancient societies
  • Pastoral nomads created clothing from their livestock
  • AS one of the earliest agricultural societies, the ancient Egyptians wore light clothes made from linen
  • Linen is made from flax – a plant which was grown along the Nile.

Ancient Egypt Fashion History – ITS A JUNGLE OF FASHION

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  • The period of history, between the civilization beginnings in 3000 BC .The ancient Egyptians were the first human society to have an identifiable sense of style in clothing
  • The Egyptian king and queen called Pharaohs.…

Ancient Civilizations Clothing: Dress Styles of the Past

  • Clothing in Ancient Egypt was a direct consequence of the climate: warm and dry, and the way of life, outdoors
  • Ancient Egyptian clothes Clothes were exclusively made of linen, although at first cotton was used, linen was imposed based on the belief that it was purer, and it was cultivated exclusively for textile purposes.

HISTORY OF ART AND FASHION IN ANCIENT EGYPT – KohlViews

  • Fashion History Paintings and writings have been the major sources of information about any ancient society or culture
  • In the context of Egypt, following conclusions have been derived from the art, sculptures, paintings and written records of the Egyptian people.

The Complete History of Costume & Fashion: From Ancient

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The Complete History of Costume & Fashion: From Ancient Egypt to the Present Day is a well-written, lavishly illustrated resource that, the author maintains, corrects many of the errors found in previously published references.

Ancient Egyptian Clothing Costume Dress Plates

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  • The model T, to the right, dates from ancient Egyptian clothing of 1300 B.C
  • To arrange model T use the same guideline fabric pattern with a fabric length of 162" by 45" deep
  • Take the corner of A) and hold it at the right side waist at the front.

Kalasiris: A look into ancient Egyptian sense of fashion

  • Our ancient Egyptian ancestors were a group of people with a functional sense of fashion in its varying styles and forms
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Ancient Egyptian Fashion Influences Today

  • Ancient Egyptian beaded dress in the left, and Marion Wulz in the 1920s 1920’s fashion – Beaded dress with ancient Egyptian detailing Both men and women in ancient Egypt also wore make-up
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  • Ancient Egypt Fashion People in ancient Egypt wore light clothes made out of linen which were usually quite simple in design
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  • Ancient Egyptian clothing is quite different from the ancient Mediterranean type
  • The Egyptians usually wore tunics that were sewn to fit them
  • Mostly, white-colored linen was used for making clothes
  • Most of the time, feet were also left bare, but leather sandals were worn occasionally
  • Working men wore short skirts rather than tunics.

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  • Fashion for men and women, rich or poor, changed very little over the centuries in Ancient Egypt
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  • Yet, in ancient Egypt, the effect wouldn’t have been funny
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Ancient Egyptian History for Kids: Clothing

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  • The Ancient Egyptians wore clothing made from linen
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Clothing And Jewelry In Ancient Egypt

  • Ancient Egyptians considered garments and cloth, one of the most important elements in a person’s life
  • People today have a very similar attitude, no matter their culture, and traditions
  • In ancient Egypt, clothing was an evident symbol of a person’s social position and wealth.

The Ethiopian Culture of Ancient Egypt

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Ancient Egyptian Clothes Facts For Kids Savvy Leo

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  • In Ancient Egypt, working-class men wore loincloths or short kilts that resembled skirts
  • These kilts could be long or short, depending on what was in fashion at the time
  • Men also wore long tunics, somewhat like a T-shirt
  • These tunics were tied around the waist with a sash
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Ancient Egyptian costume and fashion history. Decoration

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Forty-five full-page illustrations depict clothing styles for the highest and lowest members of Egyptian society, including a fashionable sheath worn by an Egyptian princess, a sheer kilt and red crown worn by a king of the Old Kingdom, a pleated skirt for an exotic dancer, a ceremonial robe of leopard skin for Queen Hatshepsut, simply draped


Protective amulets could be worn as independent pieces, but they were often fused into Egyptian jewelry. These amulets were talismans or charms that were believed to either infuse the amulet with power, or to protect the wearer. The amulets were carved into various shapes and forms, including symbols, humans, animals, and gods. Additionally, the amulets were seen as equally significant protectors of the living and the dead. Amulets were made specifically for the afterlife, as memorial jewelry was customary for ancient Egypt.

Archaeologists have garnered knowledge about the culture through excavation tombs. Among the artifacts were everyday objects, as well as jewelry. Their clothing was relatively plain, however Egyptian jewelry was incredibly ornate. Every ancient Egyptian owned jewelry, regardless of gender or class. The ornaments included heart scarabs, lucky charms, bracelets, beaded necklaces, and rings. For noble Egyptians, like queens and pharaohs, the Egyptian jewelry was made from precious metals, minerals, gems, and coloured glass. While others wore, jewelry made from rocks, bones, clay, animal teeth, and shells.


1800-1825 is it Late Georgian, Regency or Both?

The period 1800-1837 is part of the Georgian era. George III, insane after 1811, lived on until 1820. His son the Prince Regent, George, already a cause celebre acted as Regent for nine years of the King’s madness and then reigned himself from 1820-1830. Because of the influence of the Georgian Prince Regent, this is known as The Regency Period, or the Regency fashion era. Because of some overlap due to the acknowledged prominence of the Prince in court consider the Regency era to being in 1807.

Original Page Concept 2001, Updated Feb 2021

You have been reading an original Regency fashion history article about dresses between 1800-1825 by Pauline Weston Thomas at www.fashion-era.com Copyright 2001-2021 ©

For specific details about the Regency and Romantic eras
1800-1845 click below:


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