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Decoration of Ancient Egyptian Clothing

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Glossary

Sem

The Sem priest in Ancient Egypt was usually depicted wearing the leopard skin. The Sem priest's functions are usually associated with the Opening of the Mouth rituals in the mortuary cult.

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Ancient Egyptian Clothing
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The types of clothes worn by ancient Egyptians were symbolic of their status. Daily dress in the Old Kingdom was a simple rectangular piece of linen, about 0.5 to 1 meter and about 60 centimeters or 24 inches wide, which was wrapped clockwise around the body to cover the area between the waist and the knees. The end of this loincloth was turned back to make it a double thickness while the top was tucked under the part already wrapped. Then a piece of material was pulled up against the body and given a twist to prevent the inside part from slipping down.

The dress of nobles and high officials was different from royalty and the common people. A different type of kilt was worn by the nobles of the Old Kingdom on official occasions. It was a half-pleated kilt that was put on in a counter-clockwise direction around the body. The pleated part, which was drawn forward, was protected from soiling or wrinkling by the fingers when pulled into place by using a tab behind the belt. A knot in the center of the belt is a type of peculiarly tied bow, with ends generally tucked out of sight.

All the known statues and sculptures wearing this kilt are shown with the details almost always formalized and sometimes incorrect.

Fashions were affected by well-to-do Egyptians during the New Kingdom and new styles appeared. Nobles, both men and women, are depicted dressed in long garments with pleated sleeves flared at the elbow. Also, they sometimes wore short kilts under long transparent ones.

The leopard skin appears in scenes from the Old Kingdom onward and was connected with a certain class of priests usually called Sem priests. It could be worn over the normal dress and was held in position by a strap or cord, which was shortened by a kind of slipknot on the shoulder.

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Life-Sized Statue of Tutankhamun
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