Bronze Age male dresses 1
In Scandinavian rock carvings we finds some figures showing clear similarity with those in southern cultures. Then we get a picture of what was in people's mind and it tells about connections southward. A picture is not necessarily reality at the place and we need to find evidence before we can tell that it was used at the place
Male dress, Scandinavian rock carvings, loincloth, sari, slim cover, Egyptian culture, Sumerian culture, skirt of sheepskin, long or half-long kirtle, Akkadian, headgear, Age of Oxen, Minoan culture, Ugarit, battle chariot, Age of Aries, oxwagon, Age of HandmanPart 2 | Part 3 | Danish female dress | Danish male dress| sitemap |home |
Mostly the loincloth was in straight cut, but Egypt was a big or long country with varying culture and fashion varied a little in time too
Only the Egyptian culture leaves us almost continuous information from fourth millennium to AD about clothes and other things. Less from the beginning and much more later: It seems that "ancient times" always is about the Egyptian Middle Kingdom according to TV. Still we should not forget that Western culture is as much Mesopotamian and of course local adaptations.
It is only natural that in the warm climate they needed not more than the loincloth. On some predynastic palettes we see that they loved to wear some tail too. We see that also in some rock paintings and at the big Bull fresco at Catal Hüyük 7000 BC and there are some typical African figures too.
In Egypt men from pharaoh to the worker wore the loincloth. In a few early dynastic pictures we see the pharaoh swept in a cape. The female dress was normally long and of sari-type besides the slim covers of ankle-length
The sole loincloth would probably have been too little even in summer in Scandinavia those days. But the plough = arder like that in the wallpaintings reached us since we recognise the silhouette from our rock carvings. That kind of plough is still in use in Egypt and many other places today in fact. Maybe it is difficult for urban people to really understand the wisdom in this old Indian saying:
The oxen is slow, but the earth is patient
In old days they said, "the patient and gentle inherit the world". With our increasing consuming speed everything on earth is consumed, polluted and destroyed so there would not be much to inherit after another 5000 years.
Our time does not understand old farmers working only for food and sometimes a little more so they can buy a TV and look at the foolish world outside. Most of the human activities lead to consuming or polluting the soil. However the simplest method consume in slow pace and our technical techniques only escalate the consumption.
It is a question of attitude and responsibility for our waste that already the Sumerians thought about. I mention these things here since some people thinks our culture is the "highest on earth" … not to say in universe
The figure with lifted arms and short clothes is surely the Egyptian Shu, the moisture and symbol of the inundation season. Detail from Rock 5 Haugsbyn.
The little figure is the only clear human figure of Egyptian origin I have found in Scandinavian rock carvings. There are a few uncertain figures and some small details like a "duck boat" at Haugsbyn and a clear Egyptian bronze sickle from East Gautland
An artist needs to have seen a particular figure with his own eyes or he needs some easily copied model. That means the artist must have been in contact we Egyptian culture in some way maybe in second hand. We have no physical artefacts showing that pictures were transported to Scandinavia so we have to leave that possibility.
Third possibility is that some Egyptian or traveller has been here for short. Since this picture is from inland it seems not possible. The little figure is an important part of rock carvings showing the ritual calendar and Ramadan. Later in Scandinavian symbolism Shu seems to be the "Boatlifter". He appears already at the Astronomy Square constructed from the details on this Rock 5 at Haugsbyn in fact.
In another part of Rock 5 we find the Sumerian symbol three wavy lines for EA. And we can jump to the early Sumerian culture with the famous Standard of Ur with men in skirt of sheepskin, as it seems. The same we see in early culture of Malta fifth to fourth millennium BC.
But in Sumerian art we also see the long and half-long kirtle. For instance on some knife shaft found in the Nile Delta we recognise the Sumerians with kirtle, beard and round headgear. On their vessels we see the "Eastern Moon" as standard. They seem also to have been in Sinai around 3400 onward digging for turquoise and copper.
Besides the dresses we can note the special plough with the simultaneous sowing facility we know from modern machines sowing many rows at a time.
Long beard is the normal feature in Mesopotamian symbolism and the Sumerians were proud of being "black-heads", but on the Standard of Ur they are baldheads like me. The double cross symbol is probably the sun but should read SU meaning capacity from within or from the other side. The rhombus is maybe symbol for the seed.
From the bigger cultures we have so much material that we can see differences between classes. But from the small cultures we have normally only the idols and maybe the upper class of priests and authorities. It is difficult to separate what is idol of society or what is the real upper class.
In Egypt it is easy since their idols /gods are so special and odd that we see they are not human beings. If we want to understand their word it is often better to skip their Egyptian name and instead write the concept they stand for. For instance Toth was generally the moon = scribe of time and Aton was the warmth and rays of the sun. Then it is easier to understand the real world behind the myths.
This is a seal from theAkkadian dynasty that began with Sargon I. He seems to be the first to introduce worldly power and then the idols / gods became humanlike from around 2300 BC onward
Both in Egypt and Sumer the main idols were asterism in the sky. When we read from the right we see at once that the figures are not real since UTU /Shamash looks in two directions and he stands between the gone and the new season. Next is EA with his Thunderbird and he is the heavenly waters or Watergate and rain linked to earth. He was also "the first on earth" as we se he steps on the Original Hill.
Inanna the Queen of Heaven was the Virgin but also the moon and rain. In early myth she sent her husband Dumuzi to the Underworld and that symbolises the sowing beginning from the asterism Cancer and Hydra is the womb of earth or her twin sister Ereshkigal. We see a twig besides the Queen of Heaven and even in Scandinavia we see this in many places as symbol of the rising corn. In Egypt it was the djed-pillar. Lastly is the Archer that on night sky is Bearwatcher and he was symbol of the guard on the fields. In Egypt the jackal Anubis was symbol of harvest and storing.
The normal headgear is four pairs of oxhorns symbolising the division of the year in the Age of Oxen that we see also on the Narmer palette from c. 3000 BC. But we should look at the dresses and frills became fashion as we see also in the Minoan culture. However soon the Aegean culture developed a culture of their own with much influence also from Egypt.
When we generalise we see that the big cultures have at least in their symbolism much the same dresses through several millennia. We can only guess that it was much the same in Scandinavia. However our climate urge for special winter dresses and the artefacts tell about much skin industry. But the summer dress has surely been made of textile … see Danish dresses. The upper class has surely been affected by fashion from the South as we see in these files.
This Babylonian bit of the zodiac is about 1500 years later than the Akkadian above. The Triangle tells that spring equinox was in that asterism. This is the top of a stele.
The long kirtle is much the same as the Sumerian, but the zodiac has changed. Partly because the used symbolism was a little different from place to place and time to time. Precession changed the symbolism and there was a kind of Sumer renaissance at this time, but now the former ritual astronomy became astrology.
Note the tail on the headgear we will be back on it next page, but we can note that that is also an old cultural feature at least thousand years older than the stele. But let us continue with the long kirtle to the Levant and the harbour town Ugarit that must have been the transit place for cultural flow from Mesopotamia to the Aegean and maybe to the North
Thisbattle chariot was found in Ugarit at the Lebanon coast. The ram head tell us that it is from the Age of Aries that began around 1300 BC
The wheels are of the same kind as early Sumerian wheels. In the Kings' Book of the Bible we can read a lot about the battles between the Hebrews and their neighbours the Canaanites and the Phoenicians.
The battle chariot was the carrier of the time for the nobility. It must have been a kind of symbol for wealth, power and status. Ordinary people could not afford to keep horses just for fun and that was the case nearly to our times.
Here we can compare the chariot and the wheels as well as the dresses. It is natural to think of the Levant as source for these rock carvings found in Bohuslaen
It is possible that the people from Bohuslaen invented this heavyoxwagon
Still I am not so sure that this is a real carriage. The wheels are not natural and it looks more like the symbol for a quarter. However it could be they used some other type of wheels on real wagons and the oxen became the normal draught animals. Here the other figures speak for calendar symbolism and the Age of Handman or influence from the Phoenicians. The Hand = asterism Cancer was frequent at the same time as Aries and it is a sign of Phoenicians.
Then we can compare with other calendar carvings, but also with the Indian Rigveda that used the wheeled carriage as symbol for the year. We have other rock carvings with wheel or carriage symbolism on the same theme. That does not mean that all rock carvings are calendars. Behind the calendar the work and carriages are understood as means.