Tuesday, Nov 29, 2022

2500-year-old Siberian ‘princess’ beauty secrets revealed

Archeologists found items from her ‘cosmetics bag’,which lay inside her coffin next to her left hip.

Fashion and beauty secrets of a Siberian ‘princess’ who died 2,500 years ago have been revealed from her ice-clad burial chamber in the Altai Mountains.

Last month,remarkable modern-looking tattoos on the mummy of a 25-year-old woman were revealed,which were preserved in the permafrost on the Ukok Plateau,some 2,300 metres above sea level.

Now details have been disclosed on the findings of Russian scientists,which show the ancient tattooed princess’s fashion sense,love of make-up and exotic headwear,the Daily Mail reported.

According to the Siberian Times,the ice – a natural time capsule – also preserved her elegant clothing,enabling a reconstruction to show exactly how she looked “some 500 years before the birth of Jesus Christ.”

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“Archeologists even found items from her ‘cosmetics bag’,which lay inside her coffin next to her left hip,notably a face brush made from horse hair,and a fragment of an ‘eyeliner pencil.’ This was made from iron rings,inside which was vivianite,giving a deep blue-green colour on the skin. There was also vivianite powder,derived from an iron phosphate mineral,to be applied to the face,” the paper reported.

The analysis of her clothing has led to the conclusion that the Pazyryk people – though living in remote southern Siberian – had extraordinarily wide connections as far afield as China,India,Iran and the Mediterranean,picking designs or materials or dyes from different cultures’ while also establishing their own unique look.

Professor Natalya Polosmak,who discovered the burialchamber and analysed the clothing in painstaking detail,said: “The exotic dress of the of the ‘princess’ also ‘proved to be far more unusual and unique than any of our guesses.


“She was dressed in a long and wide woollen skirt,made from three horizontal strips of fabric. The skirt was 144 cm long,90 cm wide on the top,and 112.5 cm at the base.

“Each strip of the fabric was coloured separately: the top one was crimson,the middle very slightly pinkish-yellowish,and the third of a very rich Bordeaux colour. All pieces of fabric were manually coloured. The skirt had a woollen braided belt,which could as well change the length of the skirt by holding it either around the waist,or higher,under the breasts,” she added.

Archeological detective work found that the dyes used in her skirt came from the Eastern Mediterranean or Iran – almost 2,000 miles from the Altai Mountains.


Her fine silk shirts were of a Chinese design. Yet the silks themselves came either from Assam in India or south-eastern Asia.

On top she wore a smart and stylish light fur kaftan-style coat. As with male clothing for the period,it had long narrow sleeves,shorter at the front “and a tail from behind” – possibly the world’s first tailcoat.

She also wore above-the-knee white felt boots as protection against the fierce cold with temperatures dropping to as low as minus 35C.

The Pazyryk clothing included light fabrics not best suited to the cold temperatures in which they lived,suggesting perhaps their looks were more important to them than simply being warm.’

It also meant running repairs were needed on clothing and other burial mounds on the plateau have yielded examples of darned trousers.’


“The real eye-opener for Dr Polosmak was the high and distinctive head wear,” the Siberian Times reported.

The ‘crowning glory’ of the wig was a giant feather some 68.65 cm long,made from felt and covered with black woollen fabric,with a stick inside it to help it stand straight.


Then there was a ‘cap’ for the wig – some 84cm tall. When she was buried,her coffin,made from a hollowed out tree,was long enough to accommodate the headgear.’

The scientists – who dug the ‘princess’ from her icy grave 19 years ago – have released information on her as her remains are to be moved from Novosibirsk back to a specially built sarcophagus in the Altai republic where the mummy will in future be on public display.


Experts remain puzzled over her baldness,and say some ‘Pazyryk women – both of royal and lower status – kept plaits of their own shaved hair with horse hair extensions.’

First published on: 06-09-2012 at 01:14:08 pm
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