Friday, July 29, 2011

Fashion History and Makeup Series: Makeup in Mesopotamia

Ancient Sumerian Makeup was very similar to ancient Egyptian makeup. Historians have found great evidence indicating that people in Mesopotamia were very interested in body care. It seems that they even used perfume, made from soaked plants with water and oil, used for both cosmetic and medicinal purposes. Historians also found that they were using makeup; makeup was held in sea shells and a lot of them have been discovered in tombs, containing red, while, yellow, blue, green, and black pigments. 

Just like in the Ancient Egypt, kohl was used as an eye protection against bacteria and red eye, which was very common back then. It seems that khol was “a paste originally made from charred frankincense resin and later from powdered antimony (stibium) or lead compounds”.

Khol was worn as a mascara or eyeliner, and for lipstick, women used red henna. During excavations at Ur, Dr. Kenneth Graham found lipsalves in a tomb and they are believed to have been used by Queen Shub-ad. People also painted their faces with white lead and vermilion. For skin they used pumice stone powdered manganese oxide and turquoise to line their eyes.

What’s interesting about people in Mesopotamia is the fact that, besides being the inventors of makeup, they also used jewels to decorate their face and their eyes, by crushing them.

Hairstyles were also very important and it seems that their hair style changed very often.  For example, in the Early Dynastic Period, men would shave their hair and women wore their hair long, but in Akkadian Period some men also wore wavy hair. In other periods, curls or face hair were "trendy" and the kings were always the trendsetters.

PS: Thanks for the award Go check out her blog, it's amazing!

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