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A Pictorial History of Costume From Ancient Times to the Nineteenth Century: With Over 1900 Illustrated Costumes, Including 1000 in Full Color

A Pictorial History of Costume From Ancient Times to the Nineteenth Century: With Over 1900 Illustrated Costumes, Including 1000 in Full Color

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A Pictorial History of Costume From Ancient Times to the Nineteenth Century: With Over 1900 Illustrated Costumes, Including 1000 in Full Color

3.5/5 (5 ratings)
365 pages
2 hours
Feb 27, 2013


A classic in its field, this splendid guide to fashion history takes readers on a grand tour of the world, starting in ancient Egypt, circa 2200 B.C., and continuing on to the late nineteenth century. Handsome, accurately rendered illustrations depict a vast treasure trove of wearing apparel — furs, veils, ruffs, pointed bodices, and sashes abound, as do cloaks, leggings, waistcoats, breeches, military uniforms, and assorted head- and footwear.
All levels of society are included in this thorough, panoramic display of past fashions — from peasants and the middle class to the nobility. Here is apparel that clothed inhabitants of Far East kingdoms, gladiators of the Roman Empire, Crusaders of the Middle Ages, Dutch citizens of the 1600s, and Parisian society in the late 1700s. More than 1,900 costumes are shown, including fashions from ancient Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, and Greece, as well as clothing from England, France, Germany, Turkey, Italy, and other European countries.
An essential reference for costume designers and students of fashion history, this detailed survey will particularly delight the armchair time traveler.
Feb 27, 2013

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A Pictorial History of Costume From Ancient Times to the Nineteenth Century - Wolfgang Bruhn

Bibliographical Note

This Dover edition, first published in 2004, is a selection of plates from the work originally published by A. Zwemmer, Ltd., London, in 1955, under the title, A Pictorial History of Costume: A Survey of Costume of All Periods and Peoples From Antiquity to Modern Times Including National Costume in Europe and Non-European Countries. This edition contains all the plates that appear on pages 1 through 126 of the original edition.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Bruhn, Wolfgang

[Kostümwerk. English]

A pictorial history of costume from ancient times to the nineteenth century: with over 1900 illustrated costumes, including 1000 in full color / Wolfgang Bruhn and Max Tilke. p. cm.

This Dover edition, first published in 2004, is an abridged republication of the work originally published by A. Zwemmer, Ltd., London, in 1955, under the title A pictorial history of costume: a survey of all periods and peoples from antiquity to modern times including national costume in Europe and non-European countries—T.p. verso.

Includes index.


1. Clothing and dress—History—Pictorial works. I. Tilke, Max, 1869-1942. II. Title.

GT511.B763 2004



Manufactured in the United States of America

Dover Publications, Inc., 31 East 2nd Street, Mineola, N.Y. 11501

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page






ANCIENT EGYPT. Old Kingdom till about 2000 B.C., Middle Kingdom about 2100, New Kingdom about 1530 B.C.

Top Group

King of the 5th Dynasty wearing a loin-cloth of pleated gold material, with a lion’s tail fixed at the back. (Privilege of the king, probably of the early times when the chiefs of the African primitive race ornamented themselves with such trophies). In front of the loin-cloth a stiff triangular piece of linen, and over it the regal ornaments. The head is covered with the striped head-cloth with the sacred uraeus (cf. 10 side view). Further royal insignia: The artificial medium-sized beard and the two types of sceptre, the crook and the whip (probably originally a symbol of agriculture and stock-rearing).

Egyptian of rank. His high rank is shown by the ceremonial loin-cloth (partly made of golden material like the king’s) and by the stick and club (commander’s baton). He wears a short curled wig.

Egyptian woman, grinding grain with an ancient hand-mill. The tunic indicates a better class woman; the slave women usually wear hardly any clothes. The hair is tied up by bands.

Woman of rank dressed in a tunic; the original braces for keeping up the garment are widened here and cover the breasts, thus forming a V-neck. The material is light and diaphanous. In addition a linen mantle, coloured collar embroidered with glass beads. Wrist and ankle bracelets. Over the parted hair a wig with a decorated metal fillet or diadem.

Woman returning from the market in a checked tunic with wide white braces. Ornamental collar, bracelets, large black kerchief (obviously not a wig).

Centre Group

6. Official or man of rank with a stick. Simple loin-cloth in the style of the Old Kingdom. The shaven head is not covered by a cap or wig, which is necessary in the hot sun.

7. Official (Middle Kingdom) with a lengthened loin-cloth, neck decoration, wig and short beard as a sign of rank. The beard, not favoured by the Egyptians, is shaved off. But on ceremonial occasions in order to enhance the dignity of the wearer, an artificial beard is fixed by means of ribbons to the ears. The longest beard was worn by the king.

8. Egyptian of the 5th Dynasty with the linen triangle in front of the loin-cloth (cf. 1). Collar with pendant. Wig.

9. Woman of the Middle Kingdom. Patterned tunic (similar to 5). Wig, fan.

10-16. New Kingdom from 1600 B.C.

10. King of the New Kingdom acting as sacrificial priest.

Bottom Group

11. Man of rank in a shirt-like garment with two loin-cloths, collar and wig with a feather stuck into it and carrying a stick with an animal’s head (originally a king’s sceptre, later on carried by high officials and ordinary people).

12. Man with shirt-like garment, but only one loin-cloth visible; collar; band tied round the wig.

13. Mourner from a funeral procession.

14. Woman wearing a mantle. The greater variety in garments corresponds to that of the men. In the New Kingdom, fashion requires a tight fitting garment, exposing one shoulder, and a wide mantle, carried across the front and draped over one shoulder. Both are often quite diaphanous allowing the shape of the body to be seen.

15. Man of rank in a shirt-like garment with two sleeves and a very small loin-cloth on top. Neck ornamentation and wig.

16. Lower official or king’s servant. Neck decoration, bracelets and loin-cloth with a heart-shaped piece of material in front. On the head a perfume container which slowly drips.


ANCIENT EGYPT. Times of Rameses I. — Rameses III. 1350—1200 B.C.

Top Group

High Official with the white ostrich feather fan, a high decoration of honour, which gradually became the emblem of rank, for instance for King’s Favourite and other titles of honour. Princes and the highest officials or army commanders were given the feather fan. Collar (round collar), wig and bast sandals. The loin-cloth is wrapped over the long tunic.

Scribe; a vocation found frequently in ancient Egypt. The reed pen is stuck into the wig behind the ear. He carries the paint box with red and black under his arm, and the papyrus scroll in his hand. The boxes on the floor with protecting bags are for the rolled-up papyri.

Temple attendant carrying a vessel with sacrificial liquid.

High Priest from Heliopolis with a leopard’s skin (decorated with silver stars). Priests’ garments were not sewn. The hair is shorn. He wears a wig which is seldom worn by priests.

Sacrificial priest with incense burner. Loin-cloth, leopard skin, white band on upper part of body. Straw sandals.

Centre Group

6 and 10. Royal princes in war apparel, distinguished by a long plaited lock on the side of their heads. This lock, originally only worn by children, was later, in a conventionalized form, a prerogative of princes. The armour consists of leather covered with metal pieces. No. 10 has leather strips wound spirally round the body. He has also a feather fan.

7. Companion of the Prince, with his master’s bow and shield, covered with skin.

8. The King with the characteristic regal girdle decoration hanging down in front (cf. Plate I, 1). The Pharaoh wears the peculiar royal helmet (cheperesh) with the uraeus; the sacred vulture who protects the king in war is embroidered on the armoured jacket as though enfolding him with its wings.

9. The King’s bow-bearer dressed in a tight protective quilted garment covered with small bronze plates. On his head a quilted cap.

Bottom Group

11 and 12. Nubian archers.

13-15. Soldiers with ordinary kerchief and heart-shaped leather front piece over the loin-cloth or (14 and 15) a quilted outer tunic carrying sickle-shaped knives, clubs or battle-axe. Shields with eye-holes.


ANCIENT EGYPT. New Kingdom about 1350 B.C.

Top Group

The King. The hood with the uraeus falls down on both sides in two pleated strips and is gathered on his back like a plait. He wears an artificial beard as a sign of a king, a diaphanous garment over the loin-cloth (invisible), girdle decoration and sandals made of papyrus (cf. Plate I, 1).

The King’s footman or runner wearing an outer garment interwoven with gold. He carries quiver and bow, stick or club by means of which the runners made way for the royal procession.

Queen of the 19th Dynasty (14th cent. B.C.) in her hand the scourge, one of the royal insignia. On her wig the sacred vulture head-dress, usually worn by queens. She is dressed in two diaphanous garments (the new fashion for noble ladies): the light tunic and the light mantle fastened on the chest. The old tunic has been discarded. Not until the end of the 20th Dynasty is a short undergarment of thicker material worn again under tunic and mantle.

King with a blue wig, diadem with the sacred uraeus, artificial beard, collar, girdle decorations and two sceptres or insignia: scourge and crook.

Princess. Around the wig an ornamental band; collar, tunic, mantle, bare footed. (According to a wooden statuette in the Louvre, Paris).

Centre Group

6. King performing the sacrificial ritual and offering a golden ointment box. The king, like all officiating priests, is scantily clad, bare-footed and does not wear anything besides the two crowns, the neck decoration, the wide royal loin-cloth and girdle decoration.

7. Blind priest playing the harp. The head is shaven, without a wig. Flowing mantle.

8. The god Mônt of Hermonthis, with a hawk’s head and feather decoration, also with solar disk and sacred uraeus. He carries the handle-cross, the so-called Nile-key which was the symbol of life and the attribute of many gods. (Hermonthis is the modern Erment near Thebes). The god Horus (light and sun-god) with the hawk’s head is often similarly represented, the hawk was his sacred emblem.

9. The Queen as wife of a god. The Egyptian gods had a harem of living noble ladies; especially the god Ammon (the chief deity at Thebes with a human or a ram’s head). Usually the queen (the Pharaoh’s wife) is the earthly wife of Ammon, the wife of a god. Her attributes are plumes, solar disk, diadem, neck ornaments, the handle-cross and lotus sceptre. According to the old rite she wears the tight fitting tunic widening from below the knees and leaving the breasts exposed, a garment worn by the women of older times. Even Cleopatra, the friend of Anthony and Caesar, was represented as wife of a god in this costume. The light-bronze colour of the women is depicted as yellow, the colour of the men’s skin is red.

10. The god Osiris in human form. He is the god of a younger popular legend symbolizing the master of the earth who gave the Egyptians laws and taught them agriculture. Killed later on by Seth or Typhon, the god of darkness, he reigned as king of the dead in the nether world, while Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis became the

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