By G. J. Tassie
Egyptian Cultural Heritage Organisation, ECHO
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The twenty-three ancient Egyptian wigs held in the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, Cairo, constitute the largest collection of extant wigs held anywhere in the world. As well as the examples of full wigs held in the museum, there are numerous loose hairpieces, including braids, wefts and loose hair. Other museums around the world also contain ancient Egyptian wigs, hairpieces, loose hair and hair balls in their collections, the most outstanding examples being those housed in the Berlin, British, Turin and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. These wigs have rarely had a full palaeoethnotrichological examination, although enough evidence now exists to be able to say how the wigs were constructed and what their social purposes were.

*The author would like to acknowledge the help and express his thanks and gratitude to the following people: Prof. W. J. Tait and Joanne M. Rowland for proof reading and editing. Joris van Wetering for data gathering and supplying photographs of the wigs in the Cairo Museum. Dr. Ibrahim Abdel Gawad, Curator of the Cairo Museum wigs for his assistance. Dr. Dorothea Arnold and Dr. Diana Craig Patch for supplying information on the wig of Nany. Dr. Matilda Boria for supplying the photograph of Meritís wig; and Mr Ivor Kerslake for the permission to publish the photograph of The British Museum wig.