The Incans were very particular about their hairstyles. The women parted their hair down the middle and let it hang straight down. In some areas of the empire, women would don two braids. They frequently washed their hair in order to keep it clean and shiny. The women brush their hair with combs made out of two rows of thorns tied onto wood with a piece of cloth. Sometimes women would go extreme lengths to keep their hair black, risking scalding, by dyeing it in boiling water mixed with an herb called chuchan. Women only cut their hair when they were mourning (Kendall, 1973, 33). Inca men often had their hair as a long bob that covered their ears. Tweezers made out of mussel shells and metal have been found, suggesting that the Inca removed their facial hair (Baudin, 1961, 64).
Headwear played an important role in distinguishing the social class and birthplace of an Incan. Both men and women wore a braid made out of various fabrics to secure their hair. The number of times that the braid was wrapped around the head proved higher status. The ruler wrapped his braid around his head in a turban-like fashion until it was approximately 6 centimeters in length. Tassels, pompons, and other symbols were added to the braid to signify status and home village (Kendall, 1973, 33...
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...ca. He usually wore a simple robe made out of wool over a grey, brown, or black cloak. Only on feast days did he wear magnificent robes out of white wool with red fringe, adorned with precious stones. He wore a silver crescent around his neck, bracelets all up his arm, and a gold tiara (Baudin, 1961, 137).
The Incan garments were extremely basic with very little shape to them. Men and women wore sack-like sleeveless tunics, called unku, that were made out of two rectangular pieces of material sewn together. The men wore it down to their knees and women wore it down to their ankles (Baudin, 1961, 63).
Baudin, L. (1961). Daily life in peru under the last incas. New York: Macmillan.
Bennett, W., & Bird, J. (1964). Andean culture history. Garden City, NY: Natural History Press.
Kendall, A. (1973). Everyday life of the incas. New York: G.P.Putnam's Sons.
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