Monday, December 14, 2015

Ancient Egypt (Exploring The Nile Civilization)

The ancient race of the Nile proved a civilization that was ahead of their times in creativity concerning every aspect of life. The mysterious culture of the Egyptians displayed their knowledge through so many art forms that have become a source of inspiration for the modern world. The article explores the concepts of beauty and fashion in the ancient race of Egypt.

The concept of beauty and fashion through Egyptian era was an integral part of their daily lives; the idea of looking good prevailed like many ancient civilizations. The exotic blend of color and materials, forms and motifs took ancient race of the Egyptians to extreme heights of style and fashion for their times. The knowledge of their limited resources could never become a hindrance to making of masterpieces of excellence.

Their concept of fashion and costumes had a strong binding with their religious beliefs. The dry and sunny weather conditions restricted Egyptians to experiment much and restricted them to adopt styles that helped them stay comfortable. The choice of materials represent the perfect selection depicting their knowledge of understanding environment conditions and adopting what was the best for them to survive with style.

Egyptian men and women were concerned with their appearance; they opted for whatever could make them look attractive. The early Egyptians believed the abundance of hair in certain areas of the body to be the sign of impurity and uncleanness, men rarely wore more than a mustache or a goatee. Most of the men preferred their faces to be clean.

Many a men shaved their heads and wore a wig; most of them opted this primarily for religious ceremonial purposes.

Women also followed the same belief but their primary concern was to look good and attractive. Women and men both of the race used creams and oils to protect their skin from the dry weather and to kill the odor as it was considered unholy. These oils and creams were of such importance that at times the workers often accepted them for their wages.

The Egyptians discovered the art of using milk and honey regularly as they believed in those ancient times that it would make their skin smooth and silky. Facial masks, made from ant eggs and face paints were sometimes used to unclog pores and even out the overall skin tones. Butter and barley mixed together was used to treat pimples and rashes. The removal of heavy makeup was done by applying a mixture of chalk and oils.

Throughout the Egyptian age oils made from scented woods and flowers mixed with fats or oils were rubbed not only to smell nice but also as a protection shield against the dry weather. These oils also served as an additional beauty enhancement for religious ceremonies, parties and feasts by the rich Egyptian upper class.

Egyptian queens and upper class Women extensively used heavy eye makeup usually in gold, indigo blue, black and green color to enhance the beauty along with the high headdress which usually were scented with oils and decorated with jewel.

Bathing practice was one of the important rituals carried out daily by visiting the river with a concept of cleansing. The rich Egyptians carried out this ritual in a separate room, servant poured water on masters. Cleansing creams made out from lime, oils and perfumes were used during the bath.

Egyptians loved ornaments; jewelry was used in daily life throughout the Pharaonic era until the Roman times, all forms of jewelry including necklaces, rings, anklets, and bracelets were popular fashion accessories. A unique type of jewelry that never appeared in other cultures was the vest, which was born around the chest. It was usually made of gold or of gold plated metal. The lower class used this vest made out of cheap material, but painting it with golden color to give it the look of gold. Jewelry in Egyptian era decorated the lives of people giving them the style and meaning to enhance their beauty and look special.

Textile manufacturing and dress making were the areas where women effectively worked in workshops, spinning and weaving fabrics. The ancient Egyptians wore light clothes made from linen. Linen was made from flax, a plant that grows along the river Nile. The flax was soaked in water until soft, the soften flex then was separated into fibers which were beaten and spun into threads. Weaving was done on horizontal looms that were often just pegs rammed into the ground. Dress making tools include knives made first from stone and in later ages made of bronze and iron.

The basic garments in Egyptian era did not change much. Style and fashion made Egyptians a source of inspiration for the modern world. Their efforts in time showed the creative and practical application of knowledge acquired through experience.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Evolution of Ancient Clothing

The toga was a unique sort of garb traditional in the Roman Empire by citizens of the Roman Republic. Non-citizens and the exiled were not permitted to wear it. The garb measured approximately six meters in length and was fabricated from wool. Togas were single pieces of material, open from the waist up and worn as an external garment.

They may be unique to Ancient Rome, but it's certainly came back to the modeling stages of the modern world. The contemporary toga ensembles have a bold, youthful appearance with vivid colors and high hemlines.

Spring is coming and the modern style toga moves extremely well into the new season transmitting grace and a feminine mystique to the garb. The favorite toga dress gets a younger look with a smaller hem. The dressed down look is achieved by combing the ensemble with Jerusalem cruisers to transform it into suitable holiday garb.

These dresses have a lot going for them; they transform easily into evening outfits; plenty of bodice and other minor mode shifts have given togas the classic A-line outline and highly high-end look. The colors are bold if one were to describe them; eye-catching yellows, wonderful blues, astonishing oranges and greens give the right amount of sex appeal to toga dresses.

Top designers Celine or Chloe are all in on creating gown-like masterpieces. Colors range from vivid reds to gold, metallic silvers, bronze and astounding oranges in mini toga dresses. Classic black and white Greco-Romanesque style is available from other top names in the fashion industry.

One of the tremendous benefits of the modern toga dress is that the ensemble won't empty your wallet. From maxis with lots of drapery to toga tunics and minis, the outfits motivated by the fashion runways lend panache to any event. There's another benefit in being clothed in a modern toga dress, it compliments the one who donned it and flattens the belly! The tunic is at once versatile and relaxing, generally donned with a pair of jeans.

For the bold and the sexy out there that want the toga much shorter, class jewelry and strapped heels can really dress it up. Combining the dress with flat sandals gives a more realistic appearance.

Fashion is largely seasonal; trends come and they go. But, togas are still one of the rare, forever choices given the Romanesque classic never falls out of vogue. Hems shift up and they move down; shades get more blinding and the cut more daring, but the modern toga dress continues to remain a fast choice. Toga dresses in common shades that are draped in traditional vogue will overcome the seasonal changes in the work of fashion.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Court Dress in Qing Dynasty

Dragon robes
Winter court hats of empress dowagers and empresses were made of fumed marten and sewn with red wefts. Their hats adorned with pearl, gold pheasant patterns, gems and jade ornaments had protective collar behind the neck with drooping bright yellow ribbons. Summer court hats were made of cyan velvet.

Empress dowagers, queens and high-ranked imperial concubines used cyan sheets with gold-wrapped metal trims to decorate their court costumes; images of dragons and Chinese charactersFu(blessing) andShou(longevity) were embroidered on the clothes. The winter court robes of empress dowagers, queens and high-ranked imperial concubines were bright yellow, and also decorated with images of dragon patterns. Necklines of dresses of empress dowagers and queens were made of golden filament and decorated with pearls, turquoises and jade ornaments. Three sets of necklaces were hung on the chest when empress dowagers and queens wore court robes. When an empress dowager or queen was in auspicious clothing, she always wore one set of necklace made of pearls, jade and other top-grade materials. Court necklaces of imperial concubines were decorated with ambers, each having 108 beads in four parts divided by three big ones.

In the Qing Dynasty only Emperors had the privilege of wearing the dragon robes decorative of the dragons with 12 insignia badges, whose designing include circular collar,big front,right border(opening),narrow and comprehensive sleeves with sleeve end of horse shoes shape.The demy front and back of the robe was sumptuously embroidered 9 dragons and embellished with gold, pearls and precious stones. In the front of the robe collar was embroidered with one front dragon each and at the joining of the left and right borders have decorative dragons each, while there is a front dragon at the end of horseheel-shaped sleeves. The collar and sleeves were brimmed with azurite gold satins. The clothing materials could be changed according to seasons, for instance, cotton, gauge, sandwich blend, or fur, etc.

Emperor's court crowns fall into two categories:winter and summer crowns.

The appearance of winter court crown is a slope-shaped round top edged with an upward brim.It is made of fur or black fox skin topped with jewel crown including golden screws carved golden dragons and clouds and embedded with oriental jewel. The jewel top is divided into three tiers:the bottom is a base decorated with 4 front dragons around 4 oriental pearls; the second and the third tiers was decorated with 4 rising dragons around 4 oriental pearls respectively; while each tiers has one oriental pearl connect. The jewel top decorated with 15 oriental pearls in total while a big oriental pearl was embedded on the top. 

Empress court crown

Empress winter court crown was made of black fur and whose appearance is in semi-conical shape embellished a red weft and a brim around it. The crown top is similar in appearance of a pagoda, which was divided into three tiers with one oriental peal and one phoenix decorated 3 big oriental pearls each and at each holding a big oriental pearl in the upper mouth.The red weft-knitting was embellished with 7 golden phoenixes while each phoenix was decorated with 9 oriental pearls and a cat's eye, while there were 21 pearls on each phoenix tail. The back of the crown was decorated with golden pheasants hanging down to the pearl knot with 5 pendant strings of 64 beads, which meant’the five elements, mental, wood, water, fire and earth, held by ancient to compose the physical universe’and two achievements. A collar protector shaped in bottle gourd hanging down from the brim lining in the back of the crown while under the collar protector hanging down two yellow silk ribbons without any jewel decoration. The left and right sides of the court crown was made of blue and green cotton flannel. Other moldings are similar to that of winter court crown.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ask a North Korean: what happens on your wedding day?

In North Korea, your wedding isn’t just your moment, because the government and Workers’ Party often intervene. There’s no such thing as a bouquet being thrown in the DPRK, instead newlyweds bring flowers to pay respects to the statue of Supreme Leader Kim Il-sung immediately after their official ceremony.
Wedding photos are also taken at the statue. It’s not forced upon the newlyweds, but most couples feel obligated. There’s also one very important rule: you cannot walk down the aisle on 15 April or 16 February, the birthdays of the former leaders.

Most ceremonies are still held in the traditional way, passed down for generations. If you’ve ever watched a Korean drama, most often they depict the bride and groom wearing traditional hanbok dresses, with their neighbours and relatives coming to congratulate them while enjoying food and liquor, which is true to life for most North Koreans.

For the labourers and farmers who can’t afford gifts, borrowing some food from the market is customary. They pay the vendors to rent the goods, have photos taken and return them afterwards.

For more affluent people, money is often given to the happy couple on arrival, with party officials giving US dollars, a sign of their status.

More strangely, live chickens are never left out of a North Korean wedding – it’s an old tradition to have a live hen and rooster present at the ceremony. People stick dates and flowers in the jaws of the hen and red chilli in the beak of the rooster.

For party officials, weddings are their way of demonstrating how important they are, so they often hold parties on a grand scale.

It’s not important that there are lines of BMWs outside: what matters is the number of cars parked outside the hotels or VIP lounges where elite members of Pyongyang society hold their ceremonies, and the grooms are always sure to receive a watch.

Unlike in South Korea, where newlyweds go on holiday, usually abroad, to mark their honeymoon, this is alien in the North: if you get married today, you go to work tomorrow. I didn’t know about honeymoons until I came to the South.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Clothing of Ancient Japan

Japanese ancient clothing was majorly influenced by China. Vigorous trade between Japan and its continental neighbors brought in Chinese dresses and styles into Japan during the Han Dynasty. The Tang styles and Sui dynasty from China influenced clothing in Japan while it was developing from a collection of loose clans to an Empire. All robes in Japan were to be worn from left to right just like the Chinese. Right to left was considered barbaric in China and the ‘left over right’ became the conventional rule of wearing a Kimono ever since.

During the Heian period (894 specifically), Chinese influence began dying out and Chinese characters began being abbreviated in Japanese script. The Heian court was taken to sensitivity of art and subtle beauty and wardrobe became much more detailed. Colors, combinations and fabric textures changed and separated themselves from Chinese influence.

Since the Japanese people don’t wear footwear inside their homes, tabi is still worn. These are split –toe socks woven out of non-stretch materials with thick soles. Clogs have been worn for centuries in ancient Japan and were known as Geta. These were made of wood with two straps and were unisexual. Zori was footwear made of softer materials like straw and fabric with a flat sole.

Ancient Japanese clothes, culture and footwear are slowly regaining their popularity with the western world. There is an honest curiosity in knowing more, wearing kimonos or using silk fabrics with beautiful floral prints from the ‘land of the rising sun’. Ancient Japanese clothing was majorly unisex, with differences being in colors, length and sleeves. A Kimono tied with an Obi or a sash around the waist was the general clothing and with the advent of western clothing are now mostly worn at home or special occasions. Women’s obi in ancient Japanese clothing would mostly be elaborate and decorative. Some would be as long as 4meters and tied as a flower or a butterfly. Though a Yukata means a ‘bath clothing’, these were often worn in the summers as morning and evening gowns. Ancient Japanese clothing consisted of mena and women wearing Haori or narrow paneled jacket for special occasions such as marriages and feasts. These are worn over a kimono and tied with strings at the breast level.

The most interesting piece of ancient Japanese clothing is the ju-ni-hitoe or the ‘twelve layers’ adorned by ladies at the imperial court. It is multi-layered and very heavy and worn on a daily basis for centuries! The only change would be the thickness of the fabric and the number of layers depending on the season. Princesses still wear these on weddings

The peak period of ancient Japan and its imperial court is from 794 to 1185. Art, poetry, literature and trade expeditions continued with vigor. Warlords and powerful regional families ruled ancient Japan from 1185 to 1333 and the emperor was just a figure head. By the Japanese Middle Ages, Portugal had introduced firearms by a chance landing of their ship at Japanese coast; samurai charging ranks were cut down; trade with Netherlands, England and Spain had opened up new avenues. Several missionaries had entered Japan as well.

Distinct features of the lifestyle, ancient Japanese clothing and women is difficult to decipher for the simple reason that it is super-imposed by the Chinese culture. Ancient Japan readily adopted other cultures and practices and most of its own culture is lost among these adaptations.