Hair: a Resource in Ancient Egypt Art for Expressing Movement
XVIII Dynasty tombs located in Luxor are especially rich in small details, some of them escaping easily from our sight, which give much information about Ancient Egypt.
This is the case of an image in the scene of the banquet in the tomb of Rekhmire (I have to express my gratitude to Dagmar Krejci, who called my attention on it).
The whole scene shows many women during the Egyptian banquet being assisted by young girls. These servants are pouring drinks, offering floral necklaces and playing music. The Egyptian artist expressed the youth of those girls by means of their hairstyle, made by lateral fine plaits and a thicker back lock
We want to focus on one girl playing a long neck lute, whose hair covers her face. About this girl Dagmar Krejci and Peter Zamarovsky, from Czech Republic, already wrote something, paying especial attention to the lute she is playing.
What about her hair? Watching carefully, we realize that her hairstyle is the same one as her fellows’, with the lateral plaits and the back lock. However her face is covered by the plaits, while the black stroke in her front seems to be her back lock, which is now onwards. Why?
The answer could be in her gesture. This girls is slightly bended forwards for playing the lute. Maybe the Egyptian artist tried to find a way of expressing this position drawing her hair forwards.
However, some other girls in this same scene appear also bended, in many cases with a real nod, and their hairstyle has no changes. Then, which is the difference with our lute player?
We need to consider two things: 1) the long neck of the lute based on the ground and 2) the fact that she is playing while standing. Maybe for playing with this posture she needed to move and this movement was expressed by the Egyptian artist with the change in her hairstyle. So, she was not just playing, but also moving.