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Ziggurat of Ur, Sumer


What is Sumeria?

Clothing and Jewellery

Religion and Burial


Education and Literature


Arts and Crafts

Major Excavations

Men | Soldiers | Women | Royalty | Return to Intro


Sumerian society, as it became more complex, began to create fashions of clothing and styles that were unique of that period of time.  Fashion was greater enhanced by the system of trade that allowed previously unattainable materials, such as precious metals and gems, to be owned within the cities.  The Sumerians used resources that were available to them, such as wool or flax (flax is a blue-flowered plant) stems (which they could harvest easily) to make their clothing.  When it was colder, they would wear thicker clothing, although due to the heat this was rare.


Men in Sumer were normally barechested and wore layered garments, like skirts, tide at the waist as shown in this statue.  They either had long hair and long beards or they were completely shaven bald.  Rich and poor men generally wore the same types of clothing, although jewellery became far more elaborate for the rich, and the more expensive the jewellery they were wearing, the higher social status they received.  All men wore jewellery including necklaces, ear-rings and bracelets.  The rich's jewellery was made from gold and embedded with gems, mainly the lapis lazuli and the carnelian.


Sumerian soldiers were depicted differently in most archaeological remains, so it is difficult to tell what they would actually have worn.  Out of battle they would have just worn normal men's clothing.  The Standard of Ur shows soldiers wearing skirts strengthened with metal (probably bronze) and wearing leather cloaks, while the Vulture Stele show them wearing copper helms.  This is quite likely to be accurate as the excavations of Ur have uncovered copper helmets that were probably worn over leather caps. 


Sumerian women, unlike the men, wore long gowns that covered their necks down to their ankles.  Both rich and poor women wore their gowns in this style, although the more wealthy women's gowns were often brightly coloured and made of rarer and far more luxurious materials.  Jewellery was similar to the men's (necklaces, ear-rings and bracelets often embedded with lapis lazuli or carnelian).  Women would grow their hair long, but often braided it and wrapped it around their heads.  When entertaining guests, women would put head-dresses in their hair.


The royalty of Sumer (kings, leaders, queens) wore similar clothing to the rest of Sumerian society, however the clothing was made of elaborate, expensive material and they would have worn enormous amounts of gold and silver jewellery (head-dresses, crowns, ear-rings, neck-laces, bracelets and bangles, rings, anklets).  These could be embedded with all kinds of exotic and expensive gems.  For more information on jewellery found in Royal Tombs see the Major Excavation sections.

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