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Title: Ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, and Persian costumes and decorations
Author: Hornblower, Florence, Houston, Mary G.
Language: English
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                           TECHNICAL HISTORY
                              OF COSTUME

                           PERSIAN COSTUMES

                            IN PREPARATION

                       ANCIENT GREEK, ROMAN AND

                       EUROPEAN COSTUME FROM THE
                       THIRTEENTH CENTURY TO THE
                     CENTURY----WITH DECORATIONS.

                     TYPES OF PRIMITIVE GARMENTS.

                   *       *       *       *       *


                             64 & 66 FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK

                             205 FLINDERS LANE, MELBOURNE

                             ST. MARTIN’S HOUSE, 70 BOND STREET, TORONTO

        INDIA              MACMILLAN & COMPANY, LTD.
                             MACMILLAN BUILDING, BOMBAY
                             309 BOW BAZAAR STREET, CALCUTTA

                           ANCIENT EGYPTIAN
                             ASSYRIAN AND
                           PERSIAN COSTUMES

                            AND DECORATIONS


                            MARY G. HOUSTON


                        FLORENCE S. HORNBLOWER

                         DIAGRAMS IN THE TEXT

                        A. & C. BLACK, LIMITED
                  4, 5 & 6 SOHO SQUARE, LONDON, W. 1.


If this work is to be kept within its limitations, it is naturally
impossible to give a complete survey of all the varieties of the various
styles. To get this knowledge it will be necessary to consult the works
of reference, of which lists are given in each section. On the other
hand, the special aspect of the work is more fully treated than in any
other accessible book upon the subject.

Every illustration of costume given has been actually cut out and made
up before being sketched, except in a few cases which are of the nature
of duplicates, so that by following the directions given it will be easy
for anyone to reproduce them in material. Where decoration is required,
the exact drawing and colouring of the various styles of Historic
Ornament, which are the work of F. S. Hornblower (who has also coloured
the costumes where necessary), will enable such details to be
appropriately applied.

Throughout the book, the illustrations are given by means of facsimiles
of drawings by artists of the various centuries, so that a historic
survey of the History of Figure Drawing will be included. Where the
drawings of primitive artists do not clearly express the ideas intended
to be conveyed, a modern drawing of the garment on a dress-stand will
be used for explanation of the measured drawings of the cut-out
garments. The growing appreciation of the beauty and value of the
earlier and more primitive systems of cutting shown in modern dress
designing for the last decade, when the so-called Magyar blouse (really
the simple tunic common to all primitive folk) began to be popular, will
make the present volume a convenient form of inspiration for designers;
also, where more exact reproduction is needed, as in theatrical work,
pageantry, and so forth, the careful working out of the details of cut
and decoration will expedite production and save hours of fruitless
searching in reference libraries.

To the Art Student, in addition to the always interesting history of
costume, the development of the Art of Representation, as shown in the
illustrations of these volumes, which is so strangely repeated in the
personal history of every young person learning to draw, will be
attractive and instructive. Finally, in connection with the history
lesson in the ordinary school, teachers will find the illustrations
clear and helpful, especially if dramatic representations are attempted.




ANCIENT EGYPTIAN COSTUME                                               1

ANCIENT ASSYRIAN COSTUME                                              43

ANCIENT PERSIAN COSTUME                                               75



PLATE                                                               PAGE

I. ANCIENT EGYPTIAN GODDESS                                            7

II. ANCIENT EGYPTIAN QUEEN                                             9

III. ANCIENT EGYPTIAN DECORATION                                      13

IV. THE GOD OSIRIS                                                    15

V. ANI, A SCRIBE                                                      17

VI. THUTHU, WIFE OF ANI                                               21

VII. ANCIENT EGYPTIAN DECORATION                                      23

VIII. ANCIENT EGYPTIAN QUEEN                                          25

IX. ANCIENT EGYPTIAN DECORATION                                       29

X. ANCIENT EGYPTIAN PRIESTESS                                         33

XI. ANCIENT ASSYRIAN PERSONAGE                                        51

XII. ANCIENT ASSYRIAN DECORATION                                      61

XIII. KING ASSUR-NASIR-PAL                                            63

XIV. QUEEN OF ASSUR-BANI-PAL                                          71

XV. ANCIENT ASSYRIAN JEWELLERY AND TASSELS                            73

XVI. DARIUS, KING OF PERSIA                                           81



FIG. 2. TUNIC WITH BRACES                                             11

FIG. 3. TUNIC WITH SHORT SLEEVES                                      11

FIG. 4. SLEEVELESS TUNIC                                              11

FIG. 5. ROBE, UNDRAPED                                                14

FIG. 6. ROBE, DRAPED AND GIRDED                                       18

FIGS. 7, 8 AND 9. THREE VIEWS OF A DRAPED ROBE                        19

FIG. 10. ROBE DRAPED ON A WOMAN                                       20

FIGS. 11 AND 12. TWO SKIRTS AND A CAPE                                27

FIGS. 13, 14 AND 15. SKIRTS, CLOAKS AND A CAPE                        31

FIG. 16. SHAWL OR DRAPERY                                             32

FIGS. 17 AND 19. TWO DRAPINGS OF SHAWLS                               35

FIG. 18. A SIMPLE SHAWL DRAPERY                                       37

FIG. 20. DRAPING OF A CLOAK                                           38


FIG. 22. ROBE WITH CORSELET AND GIRDLE                                39

FIGS. 23, 24 AND 25. AN INDIAN SARI                                   41

FIGS. 26, 27 AND 28. THREE VIEWS OF A SHAWL DRAPERY                   49

FIG. 30. BELTED TUNIC AND SMALL SHAWL                                 53

FIG. 31. BELTED TUNIC WITH FRINGE DRAPING                             55

FIG. 32. SHORT TUNIC WITH SMALL SHAWL AND BELT                        57

FIG. 33. TUNIC DRAPED WITH SHAWL                                      59

FIGS. 34, 35 AND 36. FOLDED DRAPERY OVER TUNIC                        65

FIG. 37. FOLDED DRAPERY OVER TUNIC                                    67

FIG. 38. SEMICIRCULAR AND FOLDED DRAPERIES                            67

FIG. 39. RICHLY DECORATED TUNIC                                       69

FIG. 40. ROBE, BELTED AND DRAPED                                      80



FIG. 45. SHORT-SLEEVED COAT OVER TUNIC                                87

FIG. 46. OVERCOAT, SHORT TUNIC AND TROUSERS                           89



TUNICS, WITH BRACES                                             8 AND 11

TUNIC, SLEEVELESS                                                     11

TUNICS, WITH SLEEVES                                           11 AND 69

ROBES                                                          14 AND 80

SKIRT                                                                 26

CAPE                                                                  26

COLLAR                                                                26

SHAWLS OR DRAPERIES               34, 35, 37, 41, 49, 50, 62, 67, 82, 84

CLOAK                                                                 38

CORSELETS                                                             39

COATS                                                          86 AND 88

TROUSERS                                                              88





3700 B.C.                                                             10
2500 B.C.                                                             16
1700 B.C.                                                       8 AND 10
1600 B.C.                                                             36
1500 B.C.                                                             10
1450 B.C.                                                      16 AND 20
1300 B.C.                                                             36
1200 B.C.                                                             38
700 B.C.                                                               6
550 B.C.                                                              36
FOURTH CENTURY B.C.                                                   30
FIRST CENTURY B.C.                                                     8
A.D. 200                                                              30
A.D. 1920                                                             40



2500 B.C.                                                             48
1000 B.C.                                                             50
NINTH CENTURY B.C.                                         52, 56 AND 62
EIGHTH CENTURY B.C.                                                   58
SEVENTH CENTURY B.C.                                           68 AND 70


EIGHTH CENTURY B.C.                                                   84

SIXTH TO FIFTH CENTURIES B.C.      80, 82, 86 AND 88









As far as the cutting out of ancient Egyptian costume is concerned, we
may divide it broadly into four types--namely: (1) The type of the
_tunic_. (2) The type of the _robe_. (3) The type of the _skirt_, with
or without cape. (4) The type of the _shawl_ or _drapery_. The one or
two varieties which occur in addition to these may be found in military
dress and adaptations from the costumes of other countries. All the
varieties above referred to are described in detail in this volume.


Though we find Egyptian costume in many instances decorated all over
with woven or printed patterns, decoration in the main was confined to
accessories such as the head-dress, collar, and girdle, these being
often painted, embroidered, beaded, or jewelled. See various examples
given. The colouring which was usually, though not invariably, confined
to the decorations consisted of simple schemes, variations of the hues
of red, blue, green, yellow, and deep purple described on p. 66.


The material used in the costumes was chiefly linen. In the most ancient
types it was of a fairly thick, coarse weave; but in the later examples
a fine thin linen, loosely woven so as to appear almost transparent, was
used. The linen has often a stiffened appearance, and also gives the
idea of having been goffered or pleated.


The earliest types of costume were the tunics; midway come the robes and
skirts, and the draped or shawl type of costume appears the latest.
However, the older types of costume did not disappear as the new ones
were introduced, but all continued to be worn contemporaneously. The
dates of most of the costumes in this volume are given with their
description, and have been verified at the British Museum.


It can easily be gathered from the illustrations that the types of
costume worn by both sexes were very similar. The high waist-line
prevails in feminine dress, while the male costume, if girded, was
generally confined about the hips.

_Egyptian Works of Reference._

Prisse d’Avennes, “L’Art Egyptiens”;
Leeman, “Aegyptiche Monumente”;
Rossellini, “Monumenti Egitto”;
Hottenroth, “Le Costume”;
Racinet, “Le Costume Historique”;
Sir J. G. Wilkinson, “Ancient Egyptians”;

British Museum Handbooks and Reproductions.

These reproductions have lately been augmented and for those who cannot
visit the Museum will be found most useful.



Plate I., which dates 700 B.C., is an exact copy of an Egyptian drawing.
It will be noticed that the Egyptian method of representing the figure
is a peculiar one. A modern representation of the same type of dress is
shown in Fig. 2, and the plan of cutting in Fig. 2A It should be noted
that this plan--namely, a tunic with braces--is in some instances shown
with the braces buttoned on each shoulder at the narrowest part. This
illustration is given as a type of Egyptian dress decoration, which
would be either printed, painted, or embroidered on the garment. It
might be considered that this type of dress more nearly approaches the
skirt than the tunic; but reaching, as it does, to the breast-line, and
comparing various examples which, as it were, gradually merge into the
sleeveless tunic which again merges into the tunic with short sleeves,
the present classification will be found to be the most convenient.

[Illustration: PLATE I

_M.G.H. del._    _F.S.H. pinx._



Plate II., which dates 1700 B.C. also first century B.C., is an exact
copy of an Egyptian drawing of a woman wearing a species of tunic with
braces (plan, Fig. 1). The striped decoration upon this tunic is
suggested by the lines of another type of Egyptian dress--namely, the
drawn-up skirt. The origin of the decoration can be easily understood by
a reference to the drapery on Plate IX. In the original of this drawing
the figure is represented with a lofty head-dress in addition to the
fillet of ribbon and the golden asp here shown, but for the sake of
getting the figure on a scale large enough to show clear details the
head-dress is omitted. The person represented is said to be Cleopatra
dressed as a goddess.

[Illustration: Fig. 1]

[Illustration: PLATE II

_M.G.H. del._    _F.S.H. pinx._


Figs. 2, 3, and 4, dating 1700, 1500, and 3700 B.C. respectively, are
wearing dresses of the first great type of Egyptian costume--namely, the
tunic type. They were made of fairly thick linen. Fig. 2 is put on by
stepping into it and pulling it up. Figs. 3 and 4 are put on over the
head; the measurements given will fit a slim figure without
underclothing. The origin of Fig. 2 was most probably a piece of linen
of the same length as this garment but wide enough to lap about half
round the figure and have a piece tucked in at the top to keep it
closed. This sort of tight drapery is quite commonly worn by negresses
in Africa to-day. We also find it on some ancient Egyptian wooden
statuettes, the drapery being of linen while the figure only is in

[Illustration: Fig. 2]

[Illustration: Fig. 3]

[Illustration: Fig. 4]

[Illustration: Fig. 2A]

[Illustration: Fig. 3A]

[Illustration: Fig. 4A]


It will be noticed that the Egyptian dress decoration is chiefly
confined to the collar, which will be seen in wear on Plates V., VI.,
VIII., and X. The patterns were either embroidered, painted, beaded, or
jewelled; the favourite lotus flower is almost always in evidence in the
designs (see a, b, c, and d on Plate III.). On this plate also will be
seen several other characteristic borders (f, g, h, i), and two all-over
patterns (k, e), which were probably either stamped or tapestry-woven on
the dress fabric. The colouring of these patterns is chiefly taken from
_painted_ representations of persons and ornaments. To arrive at the
exact colouring used if the garments were decorated with dyed materials
the description of the types of colours used in dyeing ancient Assyrian
and Persian costumes, see p. 66, will give a more exact notion of what
was worn. We have, in the British Museum, actual examples of dyed wools
and coloured beads used in dress decoration.

[Illustration: PLATE III

_F.S.H. fec._



Plate IV. belongs to the next great division of Egyptian costume, which
may be called the “Type of the Robe.” This illustration shows it in its
simplest form--namely, ungirded. To understand the quaint Egyptian
drawing of Plate IV. a reference to Fig. 5 is necessary, which is a
modern drawing of the same costume. As will be seen from the plan, Fig.
5A, this garment consists of a piece of material twice the height of the
figure and folded over in the middle; a hole is here cut for the neck
and, in addition, a short slit down the front to allow of the garment
being pulled over the head. The material is sewn up the sides from the
bottom, leaving a space at the top for the passage of the arms. A
garment similar in type to this is worn at the present day in Egypt and
Syria, and also, strange to say, by the natives of Brazil.

This robe should be compared with that worn by Darius, King of Persia,
later in this volume.

[Illustration: Fig. 5]

Musicians are often represented wearing this robe, sometimes rounded off
at each side of the hem so that it does not trail as it does on Fig. 5.

[Illustration: Fig. 5A]

[Illustration: PLATE IV

_M.G.H. del._       _F.S.H. pinx._



Plate V., dating 1450 B.C., shows the same robe as Plate IV. worn in a
different manner. In this case the garment is left open down the sides,
the front half is taken and pinned at the back of the waist, and the
back half is drawn towards the front and girded with a wide sash
measuring 32” × 120”, as shown in Plate V. and Figs. 6, 7, 8, and 9. It
should be noted that Fig. 6 is a modern drawing of Plate V.; also the
costume upon p. 19, which dates 2500 B.C., gives three different views
of the same dress, a costume which emphasizes the love of the Egyptians
for drawing up the dress tightly so as to define the limbs at the back
and allowing great masses of drapery to fall in front to the feet. To
adjust the sash or girdle on Plate V., commence at the right side of
waist drawing the sash downwards to the left and round the hips at back,
next draw upwards across the front from right to left and round waist at
back and tuck the remaining length of sash in front as shown in Fig. 6.

[Illustration: PLATE V

_M.G.H. del._      _F.S.H. pinx._


[Illustration: Fig. 6]

[Illustration: Fig. 7]

[Illustration: Fig. 8]

[Illustration: Fig. 9]

Plate VI. is an illustration of a robe worn by a woman 1450 B.C., and
Fig. 10 is a modern representation of the same robe. It will be noted in
this case that the front half is not pinned behind the back, but is kept
quite full in front, and that the back half, instead of being girded by
a sash, is drawn round and tied in a knot just under the breast.

[Illustration: Fig. 10]

This robe on women is also sometimes tied with a narrow girdle under the
breast instead of the edges being knotted.

[Illustration: PLATE VI

_M.G.H. del._      _F.S.H. pinx._



The decoration on this plate shows the detail of the characteristic
Egyptian winged globe (a), hawk (b), and beetle (scarabæus) (c). Plates
I. and VIII. are examples of the application of winged decoration upon
Egyptian costume.

Three other geometrical borders (d, e, and f) and two all-over patterns
(g and h) are given; g shows an example of the well-known feather or
scale pattern; h (which is similar to e, Plate III.) is a favourite
geometric motif, and was often printed or painted on garments. A very
charming effect also of this pattern was a tunic entirely composed of
beads, or beads and reeds, and worn over the garment shown on Fig. 2, p.
11. Several beaded networks of this type may be seen on the mummies in
the British Museum.

[Illustration: PLATE VII

_F.S.H. fec._



The third outstanding type of Egyptian costume may be described as the
“Type of the Petticoat and Cape” (the petticoat was sometimes worn
without the cape). Now this petticoat or skirt, as shown in Plate VIII.
and Fig. 11, consists of a straight cut piece of material threaded
through at the waist with a narrow strip which is knotted round the
figure to keep the garment in position; the cape-like shoulder drapery
is an oblong piece of stuff, to drape which take the corners d and e of
Fig. 11A in your hands and twist them till the triangles a, b, c, and d,
e, f, have become cords, and then knot as shown in the diagram. In the
skirt piece, Fig. 11B, sew together the two short sides. As will be seen
in the illustration, a long knotted girdle about 100 inches in length is
worn over the skirt. It passes twice round the waist, and is knotted at
the back as well as the front. In Plate VIII. the deep ornamental collar
is worn over the cape. The collar, which was fastened down the back, is
shown in plan (Fig. 11C).

Fig. 12 shows another method of wearing a similarly cut but rather
longer skirt; in this case there is no waist cord; two pieces of the
upper edge about half a yard apart are taken in the hands and twisted,
one is crossed over the other and tucked inside, the other is pulled up

[Illustration: PLATE VIII

_M.G.H. del._      _F.S.H. pinx._


forms an ear, as shown in sketch. This particular draping is the
inspiration of the decoration on Plate II. Similar drapings without the
twisting were worn both by men and women. It is interesting to note that
a practically similar garment is worn in Burma at the present day by
both men and women.

[Illustration: Fig. 11A]

[Illustration: Fig. 11B]

[Illustration: Fig. 11C]

[Illustration: Fig. 11]

[Illustration: Fig. 12]

Compare Fig. 12 with Plate II. where the drapery here given has
suggested in its lines a decoration of stripes.


The noteworthy details of the decorations on this plate are those
illustrated at a and b. These are appendages from girdles such as worn
by male figures; an example is Fig. 21. The material of this appendage
may be possibly of painted leather, wool embroidered linen, or linen
with metal mounts. Many beautiful painted illustrations of this girdle
appendage are to be found in the British Museum; e is from a feather

[Illustration: PLATE IX

_F.S.H. fec._


Fig. 13 is an Egyptian woman’s costume dating 1450 B.C.; she is wearing
two garments--namely, a skirt and cloak. This skirt, which is frequently
worn alone without the cloak, as shown in Fig. 12, is cut to exactly the
same width top and bottom. It is wide for the figure, and the
superfluous fullness is caught up in each hand in the act of putting on.
The upper edge of garment is drawn tightly round the figure just under
the breasts; the portions held in each hand are then tied together in a
knot. In Fig. 13 the cloak is knotted in with the skirt; this cloak is
simply a rectangular piece of material. It will be noted that Figs. 13,
14, and 15 all show the popular Egyptian effect of drapery drawn tightly
round the back of the limbs and falling full in front.

Fig. 14, which dates A.D. 200, shows a Roman adaptation of the same
costume. The figure wears underneath a long tunic, and over this,
tightening it in at the waist, an Egyptian skirt; a small Egyptian scarf
is knotted to the skirt in similar fashion to the costume in Fig. 15.
All the garments worn by Fig. 14 are rectangular pieces of material; the
tunic is two straight pieces of stuff sewn up the sides; the top edge is
divided into three parts by pinning; these openings form the neck and

Fig. 15 is a Greek costume of the fourth century B.C. in which the
Egyptian influence is equally strongly marked; in this case, again, the
garments are all rectangular pieces of material, the sleeves in one
with the tunic. To knot the cloak to the over-skirt, as shown in this
figure, the fullness of the over-skirt should be bunched up in one hand;
the two corners of the cloak are taken in the other hand and twisted
together round the skirt in a knot.

[Illustration: Fig. 13]

[Illustration: Fig. 14]

[Illustration: Fig. 15]


Plate X. shows the fourth division of Egyptian costume--namely, the
“Type of the Shawl or Drapery.” Several varieties of this type are
illustrated and described on pp. 33, 34, and 35.

[Illustration: Fig. 16]

[Illustration: PLATE X

_M.G.H. del._      _F.S.H. pinx._


[Illustration: Figs. 16A and 17A]

The fourth division of Egyptian costume is shown in the examples on
Plate X. and pp. 33, 34, and 35. These are the draped or shawl type of
costume. They have many resemblances to the draping of the well-known
Indian sari of modern times. Compare these with illustration of sari (p.
39). The ingenuity displayed in the draping of these costumes can only
be realized when they are actually done upon a model. It should be noted
with regard to all Egyptian costumes of the more fully draped type that
the entire draperies seem to radiate from one point, usually a knot at
the waist, with very beautiful effect.

To drape Fig. 16, which is a modern drawing of Plate X., tie a cord
round the waist, tuck in corner b (see plan, Fig. 16A) at left side of
waist, pass round the back and round the right side to front again; make
some pleats and tuck them in in centre front of waist, then pass round
back again to right side; catch up the whole drapery and throw it
upwards from right-hand side of waist under left arm-pit, pass on round
the back

[Illustration: Fig. 17]

[Illustration: Fig. 19]

[Illustration: Fig. 19A

The width 45” will drape a tall figure, say 5’ 6” in height. The drapery
should be narrower for a lesser height.]

and over the right shoulder towards front, then throw the remaining
portion of garment across the chest and backwards over the left
shoulder; take corner a and bring it round under right arm-pit, release
corner b which you first tucked in, and tie it to corner a. The corner c
will hang down in a point at the back.

To drape the costume on Fig. 17, which dates 1300 B.C., take the corner
a of Fig. 17A and hold it at right side of waist in front, pass round
the back and round the left side to front again, tuck in some pleats in
centre front, and pass on round the back to left side of waist under
left arm towards the front; catch up the entire garment and throw over
the right shoulder, pass the upper edge of the garment round the back of
the neck and over the left shoulder and downwards across the breast to
right, where the corner b should be tied to corner a. Corner d hangs
down in a point at the back.

For Fig. 18, which dates 1600 B.C., take the corner a of Fig. 18A and
hold it at right side of waist in front, pass the edge a-b round back of
waist to the left side and across the front of waist, pass it round the
right side again under the right arm towards the back and upwards over
the left shoulder; tie the corner a to corner b in front.

For Fig. 19, which dates 550 B.C., tie a waist cord, hold corner a of
Fig. 19A at left side of waist in front, and throw the whole garment
upwards over the right shoulder to the back; take the corner c, bring it
round under the right arm, and hold it along with the corner a; draw
the edge a-b, which still hangs over the right shoulder, downwards
across the back to left side of waist. Bring it round to front of waist
and pin it to the corners a and c at the left side of waist in front,
passing the garment on round the front; tuck in a few pleats in centre
front into the waist cord, then pass it round right side of waist and
upwards across the back over the left shoulder, downwards across the
breast to right side of waist; here pass a loop of material over the
left wrist as shown in diagram; now pass a girdle round the waist over
the entire drapery, knot it at right side of waist, confining the
drapery as illustrated in Fig. 19.

[Illustration: Fig. 18]

[Illustration: Fig. 18A]

[Illustration: Fig. 20]

[Illustration: Fig. 20A]

Here are three other varieties of Egyptian costume. Fig. 20, which dates
sixth century B.C., is an arrangement of a cloak worn by a man (Plan
20A). Fig. 21 shows an interesting cross-over garment sheathing the
upper part of the body, worn by a Warrior King, 1200 B.C. It was
probably made of leather or quilted linen (plan, Fig. 21A). This figure
is also wearing one of the characteristic belts with appendages (for
detail see Plate IX., a and b). Fig. 22, which dates 1300 B.C., is
wearing a robe, as previously described on Fig. 6, but in addition has a
stiff corselet (Plan 22A) of leather or quilted linen which is fastened
at the side; the date of this figure is 1300 B.C.

[Illustration: Fig. 21]

[Illustration: Fig. 22]

[Illustration: Fig. 21A]

[Illustration: Fig. 22A]



Before passing from Egyptian costume, it seems interesting to compare
the accompanying illustrations of an ordinary present-day draping worn
by women in India. This long shawl drapery (the “sari”) presents
extraordinary similarities to some of the ancient Egyptian shawls or
draperies already illustrated.

The method of draping is as follows: Tie a waist cord; take the corner b
and fix it to the right-hand side of waist, then pass the edge b-a
across the front of waist, round the left side towards the back, and
round the back of waist again to the right side; now take up some pleats
in the drapery and push them inside the waist cord in centre front of
waist, then pass on the drapery round the waist to back and round to the
right side again. Now catch up all the remaining drapery and throw it
upwards across the chest over the left shoulder. Let the corner c hang
down the back, and bring the corner around towards the front of waist
and tuck it in at the left side of waist, so that it will have the
thrown-over portion to the right of it. This completes this draping of
an Indian sari. The width of this sari will drape a figure of 5’ 4”,
most of those worn by Indian women are narrower.

[Illustration: Fig. 23]

[Illustration: Fig. 24]

[Illustration: Fig. 25]

[Illustration: Fig. 23A

Length 4½ Yds, width 39 in.]






There are practically only two types of garment generally found in the
representations of ancient Assyrian costume: (1) the _shawl_, and (2)
the _tunic_. These vary in size and proportion, and are worn either
alone, but more generally in combination.


Except in the earliest examples, decoration is lavish in Assyrian
costume; in fact, the costume of a King when at its richest may be said
to be absolutely covered with ornament. Jewellery, woven and embroidered
patterns, and fringes are used in the utmost profusion. See the
illustrations of the most characteristic ornamental details of this


The materials used seem to have been of linen and wool. The skins and
furs of animals and metal were also in use, but chiefly for military and
hunting costume.


The earliest type of costume here shown is a rather elaborate shawl
drapery worn without any tunic underneath. Later comes the tunic with
various fringed shawl draperies worn in addition, and some of the latest
types have the tunic worn alone without the shawl draperies. The dates
given for the costumes illustrated in this style have been verified at
the British Museum. It should be remembered, as in the case of ancient
Egyptian costume, that the dresses changed very slowly indeed, and most
styles of this era were worn literally for hundreds of years.


The representations of costume which Assyrian art has left us are almost
entirely those of men’s dress. Two examples of women’s dresses are shown
in this volume. The first wears a plain ungirded tunic and a simply
draped shawl covering the figure partially. The second is the dress of a
Queen, and has the tunic almost entirely covered with a voluminous
shawl. The wide belt with narrow belt over it seems to be confined to
the men’s costume, as also the tighter and scantier shawl draperies
which exist in singular variety.

     For Assyrian and Ancient Persian Styles consult: Layard’s
     “Monuments of Nineveh”; Flandin and Coste, “Voyage en Perse”;
     Botta, “Monuments de Ninïve”; Victor Place, “Ninïve et Assyrie”;
     Perrot and Chipiez, “History of Art in Persia”; Racinet, “Le
     Costume Historique”; Hottenroth “Le Costume”. Also reproductions
     and handbooks of the collections in the British Museum.

Figs. 26, 27, and 28: This drapery is from the figure of the King Gudea,
2500 B.C. (see British Museum). To drape, place the corner b of Fig. 26A
under left arm-pit, and draw the edge b-a round the back of shoulders
under the right arm-pit, across the front of chest, and round the back
again, and under the right arm-pit once more; then throw the edge b-a
upwards across the chest and over the left shoulder; the corner a will
then hang down the back. Take this corner a and tuck it in at the right
side of breast, as shown in illustration (Fig. 26). It should be noted
that, unless the left hand is raised, the left arm and hand are entirely
covered by this drapery, the right arm only being left free for
movement. This dignified drapery presents points of similarity to the
Roman “toga” of a much later period.

[Illustration: Fig. 26]

[Illustration: Fig. 27]

[Illustration: Fig. 28]

[Illustration: Fig. 26A]

PLATE XI.--This type of dress, which in the British Museum is described
as worn by “a Mythological Figure in attendance upon King
Assur-nasir-pal”, ninth century B.C., might be dated about 1000 B.C., as
following the usual custom of the ancients who dressed their sacred
figures in the costume of some previous generation as a rule, consists
of a simple tunic with short sleeves, and reaching to the knee, cut in
similar fashion to the Egyptian; then a small shawl (Fig. 29B) is
wrapped round the hips, beginning with the corner a on right hip, and
passing the edge a-b across the front towards the left and round the
waist. The triangle b-e-f can be tucked in at waist-line; then the wide
belt, probably leather, which is coloured buff in the illustration, is
put on and kept in position by the narrow belt, which is coloured red;
this belt is much better seen in Fig. 30. Lastly, the large shawl (Fig.
29A) has the corner b tucked in to narrow belt at left side of waist,
and the edge a-b passed round the back towards the right side of waist
upwards across the chest, and hangs down the back over the left
shoulder. The original of this figure is winged, the wings being omitted

[Illustration: Fig. 29A]

[Illustration: Fig. 29B]

[Illustration: PLATE XI

_M.G.H. del._      _F.S.H. pinx._


Fig. 30 represents King Assur-nasir-pal (ninth century B.C.) wearing a
tunic of similar type to Plate XI., but long. Tied at his waist and
covering the back half of his figure is a small richly decorated shawl
about 20 inches square. Note the tassels hanging from right-hand bottom
corner; these would be the same on the left-hand bottom corner. He also
wears the belt mentioned in connection with Plate XI. The wavy tassels
which look like horsehair hang from his sword belt; a tassel also hangs
from the back of his necklace, and two ribbons from his cap-band. Note
the similarity of this cap to the so-called fez or tarbush worn in
Assyria at the present day.

[Illustration: Fig. 30]

Fig. 31: The point to be noted in this figure is the arrangement of a
fringe drapery which goes once round the waist, is thrown over one
shoulder, and hangs down the back.

[Illustration: Fig. 31]

Fig. 32: This man, in hunting dress, ninth century B.C., has a small
scarf, fringed only at the ends, wrapped tightly round the limbs,
reaching to the knee.

[Illustration: Fig. 32]

Fig. 33: This woman, a captive of Sennacherib who reigned in eighth and
seventh centuries B.C., wears a long tunic, and over it a long shawl
fringed at the two ends and measuring 50” × 80”. To drape this shawl,
place one corner under the left arm-pit and draw it across the back
under the right arm-pit, wrapping it once round the body; draw it across
the back and up over right shoulder. A corner of the fringed end will
hang down in front of the right shoulder.

[Illustration: Fig. 33]


Plate XII. shows a number of characteristic Assyrian ornaments.

a, The sacred tree.

b, c, d, e, f, Repeating patterns on costumes.

g, h, i, j, k, l, Borders on costumes.

m, One of the many rosettes much used in Assyrian decorations.

These should be compared with the decorated costumes shown in the
plates; they would be either woven or embroidered.

[Illustration: PLATE XII

_F.S.H. fec._


[Illustration: Fig. 34A]

PLATE XIII.--A facsimile drawing, from an enamel tile, is one of the
many representations of the King Assur-nasir-pal, ninth century B.C. The
description of his dress will be better understood by referring to Figs.
34, 35, and 36. The King wears over his long tunic a very beautiful and
dignified shawl drapery, which is fringed, recalling certain Egyptian
types already illustrated, and, indeed, has points of similarity with
certain Greek and Roman draperies. To drape this shawl (see Fig. 34A)
fold over on the line e-f so that e-f, a-b, hangs down outside; then
attach the cord e-g as illustrated, and hold g at right side of waist in
front, throwing the rest of the shawl backwards over the right shoulder.
Draw the edge e-f round the back of neck, and form a

[Illustration: PLATE XIII

_M.G.H. del._      _F.S.H. pinx._


sling over the left arm, as shown. To complete the draping, continue to
pass the edge e-f round the waist towards the right, passing under the
right elbow, then on round the back and left side until it reaches about
6 inches in front of left side of waist; now fold the remainder of
drapery underneath, as shown in the drawings, and tie a cord round waist
to keep all firmly in position; knot the end of the cord e-g to this
waist cord. Fig. 35 shows the back view, and Fig. 36 shows the drapery
thrown off the left shoulder to give freedom to both arms, Figs. 34 and
35 only giving freedom to the right arm. If the cord e-g is pulled down
so that e touches the waist, then both shoulders will be covered by the
drapery. Fig. 34 is the most usual arrangement of this type of drapery,
but in looking at Plate XIII. closely it will be seen that the modern
drawing (Fig. 37) is a more exact rendering. This drawing is from a
draping of the same shawl as Fig. 34 is wearing, but the fold-over is
somewhat deeper, the point e is tied closely to waist belt, and the
drapery is rolled at waist while it is being adjusted. When worn thus,
with a roll, the drapery will remain in position without the waist cord
being tied over it, but it is more secure when it has been thus
confined. Fig. 38 is still another variety of this type of draping, and
is taken from a small statue of Assur-nasir-pal in the British Museum;
there we have two shawls, one square and one semicircular (see Figs. 38A
and 38B). To arrange this drapery, take the square shawl and fold
outwards about 20 inches, as at e-f. Tie a waist cord on the tunic, and
tuck the corner

[Illustration: Fig. 34]

[Illustration: Fig. 35]

[Illustration: Fig. 36]

f deeply into it at left side of waist cord; then draw tightly round the
figure in front and round again across the back of waist till the left
side is reached again. Now double about 6 inches of the shawl inwards,
and tuck again into waist cord. Take the semicircular shawl g-h, and
attach the cord to another waist cord, throw backwards over the right
shoulder, and arrange a sling over the left arm as before in Figs. 34
and 37. The corner h of the shawl shows in front about 8 inches below
the waist towards the left. Tie the second waist cord tightly over this
shawl to keep in position.


Though we do not possess the actual specimens of these costumes, still
we can infer from the lavish ornament, and, from references in the
Hebrew Old Testament writings, that rich colouring prevailed. The dyes
were probably similar to those of ancient Egypt, and this table will
suggest the particular hue of each colour:


_Blue_: Usually rather a dark indigo, sometimes paler.

_Red_: Much like the colour known as Indian red.

_Yellow_: Similar to yellow ochre.

_Green_: Much like the paint known as green bice, but rather more dull.

_Purple_: Dark, and quite a brownish hue of purple.

All these colours could be used as embroideries on a white or natural
coloured ground of linen, the embroideries being of wool. In other cases
the whole garment might be coloured throughout.

[Illustration: Fig. 37]

[Illustration: Fig. 38]

[Illustration: Fig. 38A]

[Illustration: Fig. 38B]

Fig. 39 is the tunic of King Assur-bani-pal, seventh century B.C. It
will be noticed that it is cut very much in the same manner as the
Egyptian tunic; the neck opening, which is a slit large enough to admit
the head, does not show in the drawing, but three buttons on either side
of neck will be seen. A row of fringe decorates the bottom, and the
whole is richly embroidered; over this tunic were worn the wide and
narrow belts.

[Illustration: Fig. 39]


Plate XIV. is the Queen of Assur-bani-pal, seventh century B.C. She
wears a similar tunic to the King, but the sleeves reach half-way down
the lower arm; her shawl, which is fringed all round, would measure 50”
× 130”. It is wrapped once round the lower limbs, and so covers the
bottom of her tunic; it is then wound round the upper part of her body
in similar fashion to that of the woman on p. 59, save that it goes in
the opposite direction.

[Illustration: PLATE XIV

_M.G.H. del._      _F.S.H. pinx._



Plate XV. shows further details of Assyrian decoration; attention may be
particularly drawn to the varied forms of the tassels.

a, b, c, Bracelets.

d, e, f, Ear-rings.

g, h, i, j, Tassels from costumes and harness on horses.

k, Winged globe.

l, Palm tree.

m, Lappet of a King’s tiara.

n, Bronze vessel.

o, Sword handle.

[Illustration: PLATE XV

_F.S.H. fec._






The garments illustrated in this style are of four types; of these,
three have already appeared in the two previous styles--namely, the type
of the _tunic_, the type of the _robe_, and the type of the _shawl_ or
drapery. In ancient Persian costume we come for the first time to type
five: the _coat_. We may refer here also for the first time to the
wearing of trousers, for these are usually shown worn with the coats in
ancient Persian costume, and a diagram is given on p. 86 showing one of
the earliest known methods of cutting these garments.


Ancient Persian decoration was so exceedingly similar to ancient
Assyrian that it does not seem necessary to illustrate it. We do not
find, however, that ancient Persian garments were ornamented to anything
like the same extent as ancient Assyrian; the frequent fringes of the
ancient Assyrian costumes were not nearly so lavishly employed in the
ancient Persian style.


Linen and wool were most probably the chief materials used in ancient
Persian costume, but there are indications that leather may have been
rather extensively employed in the more tight-fitting garments.

It must not be taken that either in Assyrian or ancient Persian dress
the garments fitted as smoothly and tightly as might be imagined from
the sculptured and painted representations; it is true folds are
sometimes indicated, but the chief concern of the artists of both styles
was to show the human figure and richly decorative ornament.


The illustrations here given of ancient Persian costumes date about the
sixth and fifth centuries B.C. with two of neighbouring nations dating
eighth century B.C. and sixth and fifth centuries B.C. respectively.


There is not sufficient information to form a definite picture of the
women’s dress of this period and style; most probably it was a simple
tunic and shawl like that worn in Assyria, but an interesting fact is
that we have a representation of the Queen of a Persian King who reigned
in the fifth century A.D. who is wearing trousers, which, it will be
remembered, are worn by Persian women of the present day. In this
connection it may be noted that the history of costume, as developed
through the use of woven materials, presents a much more simple aspect
than the history of those styles bearing evidences of having been first
cut from leather. A moment’s reflection will make it clear that in the
case of woven stuffs the most economical system of cutting, and indeed
the most obvious, for the primitive dress fashioner, was based on the
rectangle. On the other hand, the fashioner of leather garments would
naturally try to fit the human body with, as it were, a second skin,
hence trousers and tight-fitting jackets may appear in very early

     For list of authorities see Ancient Assyrian Costume.

PLATE XVI. is a representation of Darius, King of Persia, sixth and
fifth centuries B.C.; he is wearing the Median “Robe of Honour.” It will
be seen from the plan (Fig. 40A) that this robe is sewn up each side,
leaving a space of 20 inches on either side for the hands. Like the
Egyptian robe, the material required is twice the height of the figure,
the material is doubled, a neck-hole cut, and the garment is pulled on
over the head. The Persian or Median method of wearing the garment is
unique: a girdle is tightly bound round the waist, and then the robe is
pulled up at either side over the girdle so as to produce the very
elegant effect shown in Plate XVI. and Fig. 40, which is a modern
drawing of the front view of Plate XVI., the result giving great freedom
to the arms. The King seems to have two robes of the same cut, one under
the other.

[Illustration: Fig. 40A]

[Illustration: Fig. 40]

[Illustration: PLATE XVI

_M.G.H. del._      _F.S.H. pinx._


[Illustration: Fig. 41A]

To arrange the drapery, dating sixth to fifth centuries B.C., on Fig.
41, take the corner b of Fig. 41A in the left hand, letting the rest of
the drapery fall down the back, draw the edge b-a across the back, then
under the right arm-pit across the chest, and throw the corner a upwards
and over the left shoulder; a will hang down the back. It will be noted
that this garment is weighted at the corners; this keeps it in position.

Fig. 42 is a modern drawing showing the garment in front view.

[Illustration: Fig. 42]

[Illustration: Fig. 41]

[Illustration: Fig. 43A]

Fig. 43, dating eighth century B.C., is wearing cloak (see Fig. 43A)
partly fringed. It is worn much in the same manner as Fig. 41, but in
Fig. 43 the corner a is thrown backwards over the left shoulder, and the
edge a-b is passed across the chest and under the right arm-pit, then
drawn across the back, and the corner b falls down in front of the left

This costume is not Persian, but that of some nation to the east of
Persia in northern Asia Minor. The wearing of boots with upturned toes
as here shown seems to have extended from Persia across northern Asia
Minor to the Mediterranean even as far west as Italy.

Fig. 44 is a modern drawing showing the garment in front view.

[Illustration: Fig. 44]

[Illustration: Fig. 43]

Fig. 45 is wearing a short-sleeved coat over a tunic. The edging shown
is probably uncut fringe; in reality it would not fit the figure neatly,
as the ancient artist has indicated, but would hang rather loosely.

Fig. 45A shows the method of cutting.

[Illustration: Fig. 45A]

The costume is considered to be that of a Jewish captive of the Persian
conqueror and dates sixth to fifth centuries B.C.

[Illustration: Fig. 45]

Fig. 46, which dates sixth to fifth centuries B.C., is wearing over a
tunic and trousers (see Fig. 46B) an overcoat with a set-in sleeve (see
Fig. 46B), turned-over collar and cuffs, and tied in front with ribbons.
The plan (Fig. 46A) shows one of the earliest known methods of setting
in the sleeve; the collar in this plan is represented turned forward and
lying flat.

[Illustration: Fig. 46A]

[Illustration: Fig. 46B]

The tunic worn by this figure, under his long overcoat, and also the
trousers would most probably be of leather.

[Illustration: Fig. 46]

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