CAIRO – 4 July 2022: For nearly 3,000 years, ancient Egypt flourished as the preeminent civilization in the Mediterranean world.
The legacy of the ancient Egyptian civilization lives on through the wealth of the majestic antiquities, written documents, and art it left behind.
Archaeologists and scientists have identified items that were part of the daily lives of the ancient Egyptians. In a culture that emphasized the afterlife and the importance of maintaining the fragile order of the universe, even everyday things can hold a profound significance.
Lorelei Corcoran, professor of Art History and director of the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archeology at the University of Memphis, explains that the development of Egyptian civilization allowed the Egyptians to stay in one place. This gave them the opportunity to develop design and craftsmanship.
“They have developed very complex metalworking techniques. They create beautiful things, with aesthetics obtained from nature. Objects also sometimes had subtle meanings built into their design,” said Corcoran, with reference to the shape and handle of a round or oval mirror, for example.
The Egyptians made ceramic drinking vessels, sometimes turning them into works of art. The drinking vessel on display at The Met Museum in New York City is decorated with scenes of people, plants, and animals.
The Egyptians used oil lamps - simple pottery or stone vessels to light their homes. Some were placed on the ground, while others were placed on stands similar to temple pillars.
Instead of using pillows, the ancient Egyptians used stone or wooden headrests. It's basically a curved piece attached to a stem and then a platform. One would lay down and then put their head on the curved piece which keeps it elevated, cool and away from bugs.
The ancient Egyptians cared about hygiene. They cut their hair or shave it to prevent lice. A blade attached to a wooden handle was found in a basket in an ancient Egyptian woman's grave. It is in the Met's collection of Egyptian artifacts.
Egyptians wore wigs to protect their heads from the sun and as a way to show social class or rank. It was made of human or animal hair and a vegetable fiber wadding over a mesh base that might have been made of linen. Ancient Egyptian women tended to wear wigs with simpler hairstyles than men, although they sometimes wore more elaborate wigs for festival celebrations.
An Egyptian set of personal care items may also include a pair of copper alloy tweezers.
Ancient Egyptians wore shoes made from the skins of cattle, goats, and deer, or woven from plant materials such as papyrus and herbs. Non-leather sandals resemble modern ones, with a strap across the instep secured by a rope between the toes. Members of the royal elite wore more elaborate sandals, such as the golden sandals belonging to Thutmose III.
The ancient Egyptians loved colorful jewelry, often made in the form of deities, sacred animals, and other designs. Jewelry was intended as amulets that would magically protect their owner from illnesses, accidents, and other bad events. The amethyst, gold bracelets and anklets often feature lions’ claws.
Although Egypt is considered a country with a hot climate, temperatures usually drop in the early mornings and evenings. Hence, the ancient Egyptians invented striped wool socks designed to be worn with sandals.
Apparently the ancient Egyptians were concerned with their appearance - both men and women wore make-up for example - and often looked in a mirror like the one in the National Museums Collection in Scotland.