Things that irk me/make me ponder:
So, Sumerian and Akkadian Mesopotamia was overwhelmingly was a textile based society- wool was their main exportable resource, and we know they had large-scale workshops exporting textile products from the Sargonic Period at least (2400 BCE). Wool, textiles and weaving were utterly fundamental to Sumerian/Akkadian life and culture, but no actual examples have survived.
So why do artist’s depictions of Mesopotamia always only ever show people wearing, plain, white largely undecorated clothing? However lovely the art, the people always seem sterile and colourless, and are all dressed identically.
Now, the plain, undecorated skirt or one-shoulder tunic with a tufted bottom does absolutely have a precedent in Mesopotamian statues. It’s what almost every Sumerian statue or votive is wearing:
There are hundreds more examples.
But those statues are virtually always of three types of people- kings, priests, and high-ranking male worshippers who commissioned votives of themselves.
It’s entirely possible that the almost undecorated white skirt was an equivalent of the Roman Toga Virilis- a high status garment only for extremely high-ranking men.
This is one of the few truly detailed statues of a woman from Ancient Mesoptamia:
Doesn’t that look like embroidery?
Anyway, it’s entirely possible that ordinary Mesopotamians, and maybe higher ranking women, could have looked more like this:
Both above examples from the traditional dress of the Kalash people in Northern Pakistan, just to show how colourful things could have been for all we know, though in reality, the colours were probably a little more muted due to inefficient dyes. Here are some examples of traditional dress and textiles from around modern Iraq:
(Both the traditional clothes of modern day Assyrian people, astonishingly similar to ancient depictions).
We know from painting examples in Anatolia that patterns drawn on walls 8000 years ago are still used on textiles in the same area today. This is what the traditional embroidery of the Ma’adan people, whose culture is believed to have been in many ways unchanged from Sumeria up until the 1990s looks like.
#Picture the Sumerians wearing colours 2017