There are a lot of facts about the ancient Egyptian culture, among them woman’s beauty. The main tools of beauty for woman are cosmetics and accessories.
It is commonly known that women by nature have a tendency to put on make-up and look attractive, in order to perform their role in life.
Women both in the past and at present have never changed this tendency although it took different features and forms according to the time and place.
The ancient Egypt civilization was the first one to introduce the cosmetics and accessories. Here we are going to mention some facts about Egypt woman’s make-up and accessories.
Ancient Egyptian culture: Wig or false hair
Two types of false hair were known in the old kingdom. The first was an imitation of the short curly hair, and the other resembled long hair.
The women in the old kingdom regardless of their social class used large wigs of long hair which stretched as far as their breasts.
In the middle kingdom using the false hair had continued with minimal change.
The changes which took place in the mid 18th dynasty caused the massive wigs which extended to the breasts to disappear, replaced by long hair freely extended loose on the shoulders and back.
It was the custom of women to use Qaramel made out of hair, or “blaits of hair or wool pinned to the real hair of the lady.
This matter provides the evidence that the Arab women have also shown interest in false hair.
Combs in ancient Egypt culture
Combs were used for parting and styling. The archaic period had known two types of combs. The simple contained one row of teeth, while the other had two rows.
The materials used for the comb were usually wood and ivory shaped up elegantly in floral patterns and leaves of trees, and sometimes with the head of the deity of love Hathor.
The pre-Islamic woman also known the comb, as mentioned in the poem of Omro Al-Qais in the museum of Islamic art in Cairo a marvelous comb is on display, with inscription on it some of the cosmetic kits carried mice sentence which brought the pleasure and happiness to the user such as I am a hair-comb, Made for those who really deserve men.
This comb is on display in the museum of Islamic art in Cairo. A contemporary poet said “I become jealous of the comb my sweetheart uses and feel the suffering of deprivation and loneliness.
The above shows that the ancient Egyptians had excelled in the art of cosmetic kits.
Culture of Egypt: Perfumes and ointments
The ancient Egyptian had given great care to the perfumes and creams and considered them an integral part of their daily life.
An example to this was Snuhi, who, after coming back home from exile was pleased to soak himself in the precious oils instead of the tree wood oils used by the Asiatics to rub their bodies.
Dignitaries since the remote past had brought the ointments from Libya, Palestine, and the southern red sea coasts.
The term “perfumes refresh the heart” was inscribed on a stone in the ancient Egyptian language.
In the tombs of the 18th and 18th dynasties, men and women were seen in complete ceremonies garments while placing on their false hair wigs round cones made out of perfumed ointments, which slowly got molten during the ceremony and kept their bodies fresh.
The color of these cones was usually white, with red stripes sometimes as the case during the reign of Tuthmosis III.
This type was brought to the country from a foreign land probably Nubia.
The Arab women used to wear the mask and this was reflected in the poem of Al-Kamit, the Arab poet who died in 136 A.H., when he stated that the whole neighborhood of the Numan tribe would smell the musk if Zeinab walked few steps in the streets of the district.
This provides the evidence that Zeinab and her company of women wore the mask.
In the meantime, the Persian poets repeatedly flirted in their poems about the hair of the females, and the perfumed oils, amber, and musk.
Hafiz Al-Shirazi said: Oh’ cool breeze when you pass by the neighborhood of my sweetheart, get me a buff of its molten amber fragrance.
Culture in Egypt: Pigments
Smearing the whole body with pigments and probably the tattoos as could be seen in the pre-Dynastic women statues seems to have been vanished in the old kingdom.
It also seems that painting of the face, organs and hair was almost on equal footing with the clothes throughout the ancient Egyptian history.
Meanwhile, in the netherworld, the deceased was in bad need of the seven sacred oils and two types of pigments.
Even the statues which their lifelessness is not contested since they had not represented nature, had traces of Kohl (eye make-up).
Two kinds of kohl were commonly used by the ancient Egyptians. The green malachite which decorated the eyelids and the black made up the eyebrows.
During the archaic period, kohl was powdered on boards of schist, and then stored in wooden or ivory containers.
In the old kingdom, preparation of kohl by individuals had stopped and the material was stored in oblong boxes.
However, in the new kingdom, it seems that using the make-up was not exclusively confined to eyes.
On the other hand, among the undeniable facts about women’s cosmetics that she had used red preparations as a powder for lips and cheeks make-up, and for example henna to paint the hair, hands, and feet.
As far as we know the early Arab woman had not used the pigments for make-up but they took good care of their hair-do and styling, and eye make-up.
Al-Mutanabi, the Arab poet said that the woman in the city, puts on makeup to look pretty, therefore her beauty seems artificial, in contrary to the Bedouin woman who rarely wears any makeup with the Persian poets, the beauty of the woman was not neglected or disregarded.
An example was that of Hafiz Al-Shirazi of the eighth century A.H. Who said that the captivating beauty of his sweetheart can give her the right of arrogance.
The beautiful face has no need for lipsticks, water, and pigments. In the meantime, it is remarkable that the Persian women were more tended to wear make-up and specifically painting their faces with pigments to look prettier.
Ghaza was red substance for the cheeks while Wasma: was a black material for shaping the eyebrows.
Concerning tattoos or Washm, many examples were found in the mameluk period, when women used to adorn their bodies.
The tattoo had drawn the attention of the jurisprudents during the Mameluk period since they referred on many occasions to the saying of Prophet Mohammed concerning the tattoo-makers and the tattooed women.
It is remarkable that the tradition of Washm (tattoo) and depicting the scene of the god Bes on the dancers’ bodies in ancient Egypt had existed and especially with those who danced in the temples to amuse the gods and priests.
The mummies of these ladies were discovered with the tattoos still on their bodies, as in the case of priestess “Amonet”.
After all, we can conclude that the Egyptian woman paid a great attention to her beauty and appearance.
And that is considered one of the most important facts about ancient Egyptian woman’s cosmetics and accessories.