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Clothing in Oldest Civilizations of the World

Clothing in Oldest Civilizations of the World

India

China

Peru

Mexico

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India

Geographical influence was ranging from Shortugai, Oxus River, Kazakhstan, and in the west Sutkagan Dor, Iraq.  One of the earliest Neolithic sites in the Indian subcontinent is Bhirrana along the ancient Saraswati riverine system in the present day state of Haryana in India, dating to around 7600 BC.

Evidences for textiles in Indus Valley Civilisation are from impressions made into clay and from preserved pseudomorphs. One fragment of colored cloth is available in evidence which is dyed with red madder show that people in Harappan civilisation dyed their cotton clothes with a range of colors. Men wore a long cloth wrapped over their waist and fastened it at the back (just like a close clinging dhoti). Turban was also in custom. Evidences also show that there was a tradition of wearing a long robe over the left shoulder. The normal attire of the women at that time was a very scanty skirt up to knee length leaving the waist bare. Cotton made head dresses were also worn by the women.

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China

Early evidence for Chinese millet agriculture is dated to around 7000 BC, with the earliest evidence of cultivated rice found at Chengtoushan near the Yangtze River, dated to 6500 BC. Chengtoushan may also be the site of the first walled city in China.

Archaeologists have found thousands of year old artifacts such as stone beads, ornaments, and woven silk. These findings were the clear representation of the uses of clothing in Ancient China. Poor people used hemp clothes which were durable, loose fitting, and comfortable to work in the field. On the other hand, Rich people clothes were made of up silk.

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Peru/Colombia (Andean)

The earliest evidence of agriculture in the Andean region dates to around 4700 BC at Huaca Prieta and Paredones. The oldest evidence of canal irrigation in South America dates to 4700 to 2500 BC in the Zaña Valley of northern Peru.

Having been heavily influenced by the preceding Paracas culture, which was known for extremely complex textiles, the Nazca produced an array of beautiful crafts and technologies such as ceramics, textiles, and geoglyphs (most commonly known as the Nazca lines). They spun vegetable fibers to weave into textiles and mats for housing. Weaving was an important artistic achievement of the ancient cultures of Andean. 

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Mexico (Mesoamerican / Mayan)

The Coxcatlan caves in the Valley of Tehuacán provide evidence for agriculture in components dated between 5000 and 3400 BC. Similarly, sites such as Sipacate in Guatemala provide maize pollen samples dating to 3500 BC.  

At the same time, cotton, yucca and agave were exploited for fibbers and textile materials. Ancient Maya women had two natural types of cotton to work with, one white and the other light brown, called cuyuscate, both of which were commonly dyed. Elite women were also given the opportunity to work with the most expensive feathers and pearl beads. Although actual ancient samples of textiles have not survived the tropical climate of Mesoamerica, Pre-Columbian sculptural depictions and paintings of figures wearing woven costume indicate that textiles were decorative, highly valued, and used to show elite status since the Pre-Classic/Formative period (1500 B.C.E.-250 C.E.).

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About Author

MIFT ( Mysore Institute of Fashion Technology) students, trainee and scholars study and research about fashion, makeup, forecasting, e commerce, disruptive technologies in fashion & cosmetics industry. The primary research objective is to create open industry modular ecosystem platform for fashion designers and makeup artists to work and earn in hyper personal and local market using IR 4 and 5 ( industrial revolution) technologies to disrupt connected digitalization of mass production. 

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