Think of Queen Elizabeth I or Golda Mier and you just might see Queen Hatshepsut of the Eighteenth Dynasty. Her name might not come as easily on the tongue, but in her day she was a household word. In order to seize power when her half-brother husband died, she knew she had to look like a warrior. So, for twenty-two years, whenever she appeared in public, she concealed her breasts and adopted the ceremonial false beard.
|Image Source: someinterestingfacts.net|
Soon she was being hailed as the "Son of the Sun" and "Lord of Two Lands" with obelisks and temples built in her honor. And, as legend has it, it was she who found the baby Moses in the bulrushes while having her daily bath.She was the third pharaoh to reside in the Valley of Kings. When she died, to show that Hatshepsut was no longer powerful, the new pharaoh had all the beards chopped off her statues.
|Image Source: I Harsten via Flickr Creative Commons|
Strangely enough, even male pharaohs continued to use false beards as a sign of distinction, rather than grow their own. There were three major styles: short and stubby for high-ranking men; larger and thick for kings; and slender and curved for gods. Men used copper razors to maintain the cleanshave look that was de rigueur.
Courtesy of Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger