Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, OIM 2036 A-B
Man and wife in traditional clothes
Limestone, pigment
Old Kingdom, Dynasty 5, reigns of Menkauhor and Unis, ca. 2466-2400 B.C.
Deshasha, tomb of Nenkhefetka
Gift of the Egypt Exploration Fund, 1897

This statue of a noble man and his wife illustrates the classic form of dress in ancient Egypt. The man wears a short wrapped kilt with an inverted box pleat that stands stiffly in front of him. A fabric belt is knotted at his waist. His wife wears a beaded necklace and a tightly-fitting sheath dress with a deep "v" neck and broad shoulder straps. This style of dress was popular for the entire 3000 years of pharaonic history. Both are barefooted, which was common for much of Egyptian history.

Both figures are shown with elaborate wigs. His is a full rounded shape made of layers of curls or braids while hers is a short blunt-cut style. Her own hair can be seen on her forehead, emerging from beneath the wig.

The brown and yellow skin tones are common ancient Egyptian convention that differentiate male from female. The woman's lighter tone indicates that she lived a protected life and did not have to work under the harsh sun. The affectionate pose of the couple attests to the close tie between man and wife in ancient Egypt.

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