The history of nudity involves social attitudes to nakedness of the human body in different cultures in history. The use of clothing to cover the body is one of the changes that mark the end of the Neolithic, and the beginning of civilizations. Nudity or near-complete nudity has traditionally been the social norm for both men and women in some hunter-gatherer cultures in warm climates and it is still common among many indigenous peoples. The need to cover the body is associated with human migration out of the tropics into climates where clothes were needed as protection from sun, heat, and dust in the Middle East; or from cold and rain in Europe and Asia. The first use of animal skins and cloth may have been as adornment, along with body modification, body painting, and jewelry, invented first for other purposes, such as magic, decoration, cult, or prestige, and later found to be practical as well.
Renaissance sculptors such as Donatello and Milangelo helped bring male and female nudes back into classical art. A few decades later, Milangelo made a larger-than-life version. Even though Renaissance sculptors may have had access to female models, they preferred to use male models. The most beautiful female bodies would be those that were the most androgynous. Arrs shooting at a herm c. Nudity was a popular feature of mythological and allegorical genre painting in eighteenth and nineteenth-century Western art.
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But the French Impressionists pushed against the conventional notion of allegorical nudes by painting and exhibiting bold, and sometimes surreal, nudes.
The woman has no explicit reason to be naked-she is not a mythological figure but a normal lunch companion-and her partners are both clothed.
The nude body was mainly absent from Japanese art for centuries. Laws in Japan allowed painters to depict nudes if they were allegorical, although painters often bypassed this rule. The woman wears a red koshimaki, or traditional Japanese female underwear, and is shown reclining against a Japanese landscape.
The rise of female artists in modern and contemporary art allowed women to explore this issue in their own work. Contemporary women artists such as Marina Abramovic, Yoko Ono, Nan Goldin, and Vanessa Beecroft are known for using their own nude bodies or bodies of other women to make statements against sexism within art history as well as society at large.
The biggest change of the past one hundred years has been the inclusion of female artists in the mix. Yet, the basic reason for wanting to depict unclothed figures has remained constant over time: the human body is a wonderful sight to behold, both clothed and unclothed. Naked Greek athletes The nude first became a significant feature in Western Art with the Greeks, whose interest in the naked male form was an extension of daily life.
Kouros about B. or modern forgery by Unknown The J. Paul Getty Museum.
Female fertility If the nude male sculpture was associated with athletic talent and high moral values, the female nude had a different genesis: she embodied fertility and procreation. Naked and Afraid in the Middle Ages With the arrival of Christianity, nakedness all but disappeared from Western art, except for depictions of Adam and Eve, whose nakedness revealed their sin, and Jesus, whose naked body revealed his wounds.
Erotic Art Nudity was also an obvious feature of erotic art, which existed long before Playboy and Playgirl made naked bodies mainstream. Males with Breasts?
The wearing of clothing is assumed to be a behavioral adaptationarising from the need for protection from the elements; including the sun for depigmented human populations and cold temperatures as humans migrated to colder regions. It is estimated that anatomically modern humans evolve toyears ago. Fashions in ancient Egypt changed little from its beginnings until the Middle Kingdom.
The ancient Egyptians wore the minimum of clothing. Both men and women of the lower classes were commonly bare sted and barefoot, wearing a simple loincloth or skirt around their waist. Slaves and laborers were nude or wore loincloths.
It is also not known if her husband Menelaus truly showed her off naked at a party to impress his guests or if this incident was a Hollywood fabrication. According to legend, however, when Menelaus finally found his wife after Troy had been sacked, he had wanted to kill her for the humiliation she had caused him, but when he was about to do so, she let her robe fall, exposing her nude body Male nudes are the norm in Greek art, even though historians have stated that ancient Greeks kept their clothes on for the most part. New research suggests that art might have been imitating life 6 Herms. Herms in ancient Greece were a unique style of statuary. On top of a square pillar sat the head of either a human or a god. This much is fairly standard but around half way down the pillar was carved a set of male genitalia. The god Hermes was often the deity shown on a herm and he had a role in protecting borders and warding off thieves
Nudity was considered a natural state. During the Early Dynastic Perio - BCEand the Old Kingdom- BCE the majority of men and women wore similar attire. Skirts called snti -which evolved from loincloths and resembled modern kilts-were customary apparel.
Women of the upper classes commonly wore a kalasirisa dress of loose draped or translucent linen which came to just above or below the breasts.
Children went without clothing until pubertyat about age In the First Intermediate Period - BCE and the Middle Kingdom - BCE clothing for most people remained the same, but fashion for the upper classes became more elaborate. During the Second Intermediate Period - BCE portions of Egypt were controlled by Nubians and by the Hyksosa Semitic people. During the brief New Kingdom - BCEEgyptians regained control. Upper class women wore elaborate dresses and ornamentation which covered their breasts, often represented in film and TV.
Those serving in the households of the wealthy also began wearing more refined dress. The Minoan civilization prized athleticism, with bull-leaping being a favourite event. Both men and women participated wearing only a loincloth, as toplessness for both sexes was the cultural norm; men wore loincloths, whilst women wore an open-fronted dress.
Ancient Greece had a particular fascination for aestheticswhich was also reflected in clothing or its absence.
Sparta had rigorous codes of training agoge and physical exercise was conducted in the nude. Athletes competed naked in public sporting events. Spartan women, as well as men, would sometimes be naked in public processions and festivals. This practice was designed to encourage virtue in men while they were away at war and an appreciation of health in the women. In general, however, concepts of either shame or offense, or the social comfort of the individual, seem to have been deterrents of public nudity in the rest of Greece and the ancient world in the east and west, with exceptions in what is now South Americaand in Africa and Australia.
Polybius asserts that Celts typically fought naked, "The appearance of these naked warriors was a terrifying spectacle, for they were all men of splendid physique and in the prime of life.
In Greek culturedepictions of erotic nudity were considered normal. The Greeks were conscious of the exceptional nature of their nudity, noting that "generally in countries which are subject to the barbarians, the custom is held to be dishonourable; lovers of youths share the evil repute in which philosophy and naked sports are held, because they are inimical to tyranny;" .
The origins of nudity in ancient Greek sport are the subject of a legend about the athlete Orsippus of Megara. Ancient Roman attitudes toward male nudity differed from those of the Greeks, whose ideal of masculine excellence was expressed by the nude male body in art and in such real-life venues as athletic contests.
The togaby contrast, distinguished the body of the adult male citizen at Rome. Public nudity might be offensive or distasteful even in traditional settings; Cicero derides Mark Antony as undignified for appearing near-naked as a participant in the Lupercalia festival, even though it was ritually required.
Slaves for sale were often displayed naked to allow buyers to inspect them for defects, and to symbolize that they lacked the right to control their own bodies.
When statues of Roman generals nude in the manner of Hellenistic kings first began to be displayed, they were shocking-not simply because they exposed the male figure, but because they evoked concepts of royalty and divinity that were contrary to Republican ideals of citizenship as embodied by the toga. At the same time, the phallus was depicted ubiquitously. The phallic amulet known as the fascinum from which the English word "fascinate" ultimately derives was supposed to have powers to ward off the evil eye and other malevolent supernatural forces.
It appears frequently in the archaeological remains of Pompeii in the form of tintinnabula wind chimes and other objects such as lamps. A penis depicted as erect and very large was laughter-provoking, grotesque, or apotropaic. Respectable Roman women were portrayed clothed. Partial nudity of goddesses in Roman Imperial art, however, can highlight the breasts as dignified but pleasurable images of nurturing, abundance, and peacefulness. The erotic art found in Pompeii and Herculaneum may depict women performing sex acts either naked or often wearing a strophium strapless bra that covers the breasts even when otherwise nude.
The display of the female body made it vulnerable; Varro thought the Latin word for "sight, gaze ", visuswas etymologically related to vis"force, power". The connection between visus and vishe said, also implied the potential for violation, just as Actaeon gazing on the naked Diana violated the goddess. One exception to public nudity was the thermae public bathsthough attitudes toward nude bathing also changed over time.
In the 2nd century BC, Cato preferred not to bathe in the presence of his son, and Plutarch implies that for Romans of these earlier times it was considered shameful for mature men to expose their bodies to younger males. From around BC Indian mystics have utilized naked ascetism to reject worldly attachments. In stories written in China as early as the 4th Century BCE, nudity is presented as an affront to human dignityreflecting the belief that "humanness" in Chinese society is not innate, but earned by correct behavior.
However, nakedness could also be used by an individual to express contempt for others in their presence. In other stories, the nudity of women, emanating the power of yincould nullify the yang of aggressive forces.
The period between the ancient and modern world-approximately to CE-saw an increasingly stratified society in Europe, with attitudes and behavior dependent upon social status. At the beginning of the period, everyone other than the upper classes lived in close quarters and did not have the modern sensitivity to private nudity, but slept and bathed together naked with innocence rather than shame.
Later in the period, with the emergence of a middle class, clothing in the form of fashion was a significant indicator of classand thus its lack became a greater source of embarrassment.
These attitudes only slowly spread to all of society. Until the beginning of the eighth century, Christians were baptized naked, to represent that they emerged without sin.
Although there is a common misconception that Europeans did not bathe in the Middle Agespublic bath houses-segregated by sex-were popular until the 16th century, when concern for the spread of disease closed many of them. In Christian Europe, the parts of the body that were required to be covered in public did not always include the female breasts. Inbreasts were associated with nourishment and loving care, but byartistic representations of the breast were either erotic or medical.
In the medieval period, Islamic norms became more patriarchal, and very concerned the chastity of women before marriage and fidelity afterward. Women were not only veiled, but segregated from society, with no contact with men not of close kinship, the presence of whom defined the difference between public and private spaces.
Sumo wrestling, practiced by men in ceremonial dress of loincloth size that exposes the buttocks like a jock strap, in general is considered sacred under Shinto. Public, communal bathing of mixed sexes also has a long history in Japan.
Public toplessness was generally considered acceptable as well until the post-WWII US occupation when General Douglas MacArthur passed edicts requiring women to cover their breasts and banning pornography that contained close-up shots of genitalia.
Public nudity was quite normal and commonplace in Japan until the Meiji Restoration. InRev. Well Williams interpreter to U. Commodore Matthew Perrywrote:.
Modesty, judging from what we see, might be said to be unknown, for the women make no attempt to hide the bosom, and every step shows the leg above the knee; while men generally go with the merest bit of rag, and that not always carefully put on.
In ancient Greece, nudity became associated with the perfection of the gods. In ancient Rome, complete nudity could be a public disgrace, though it could be seen at the public baths or in erotic art. In the Western world, with the spread of Christianity, any positive associations with nudity were replaced with concepts of sin and shame Ancient Persians traditionally thought it against decorum to appear in the buff, and thus Greek nudity was an affront to their social mores. It was a symbol of Greekness at that time first In Ancient Greece, men competed in the nude for athletic events and also disrobed for parties called symposia, where they would eat, drink, and socialize in the buff. It is no surprise, then, that
Naked men and women have both been seen in the streets, and uniformly resort to the same bath house, regardless of all decency. Lewd motions, pictures and talk seem to be the common expression of the viler acts and thoughts of the people, and this to such a degree as to disgust everybody.
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After the Meiji Restoration, the Japanese government began a campaign to institute a uniform national culture and suppress practices such as public nudity and urination that were unsightly, unhygienic, and disturbing to foreign visitors. Mixed gender bathing was banned. Enforcement of these rules was not consistent and most often occurred in Tokyo and other major cities with a high number of foreign visitors. Despite the lack of taboos on public nudity, traditional Japanese art seldom depicted nude individuals except for paintings of bathhouses.
When the first embassies opened in Western countries in the late 19th century, Japanese dignitaries were shocked and offended at the European predilection for nude statues and busts. However, Japanese students traveling to Europe to study became exposed to Western art and its frequent nudity.
InKuroda Seiki was the first Japanese artist to publicly exhibit a painting of a nude woman grooming herself. The work caused a public uproar, but gradually nudity became more accepted in Japanese art and by the s, it was commonplace and acceptable as long as pubic hair was not shown.
By the s, pubic hair was accepted as long as it was not overly detailed or the main focus of the picture. However, pornographic art that featured graphic depictions of nudity and sexual acts already existed in Japan for centuries, called Shunga.
In traditional Japanese culture, nudity was typically associated with the lower class of society, i. those who performed manual labor and frequently wore little when the weather permitted.
The upper class, for comparison, were expected to be modest and fully clothed, with fine clothing in particular considered more erotic than nudity itself. After the Meiji Restoration, upper-class Japanese began adopting Western clothing, which included underwear, something not part of the traditional Japanese wardrobe except for loincloths worn by men.
Underwear was, however, not commonly worn in Japan until after WWII despite the government's attempts to impose Western standards. The disastrous earthquake in Tokyo was widely used as a pretext to enforce them, as government propaganda claimed that many women perished because they were afraid to jump or climb out of ruined or burning buildings due to their kimonos flying open and exposing their privates. In reality, it had more to do with lack of proper building standards and traditional Japanese homes being constructed with flammable paper and wood; moreover, there was no evidence that women were concerned about accidentally exposing themselves, especially since the majority of Japanese at this time still wore traditional outfits with no undergarments.
After WWII, during the occupation of Japan by the Allied military, public nudity was more extensively suppressed and Western clothing, which included boxer shorts, briefs, brassieres, and panties, became normal. Clothing in the Middle East, which loosely envelopes the entire body, changed little for centuries.
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In part, Middle Eastern clothing remained relatively constant because it is well-suited for the climate, protecting the body from dust storms while allowing cooling by evaporation. Veiling of women in public predates Islam in PersiaSyriaand Anatolia. The Qur?an provides guidance on the dress of women, but not strict rulings;  such rulings may be found in the Hadith. According to Ibn Battutafemale servants and slaves in the Mali Empire during the 14th century would be completely naked.
In hunter-gatherer cultures in warm climates nudity had been the social norm for both men and women prior to contact with Western cultures or Islam. A few societies well-adapted to life in isolated regions unsuitable for modern development retain their traditional practices and cultures while having some contact with the developed world. Many indigenous peoples in Africa and South America train and perform sport competitions naked.
The DinkaSurma and Mursi peoples in South Sudan and Ethiopia engage in nude stick fights.
Complete or partial nudity for both men and women is still common for Mursi, Surma, NubaKarimojongKirdiDinka and sometimes Maasai people in Africa, as well as MatsesYanomamiSuruwahaXingu, Matis and Galdu people in South America.
In some African and Melanesian culturesmen going completely naked except for a string tied about the waist are considered properly dressed for hunting and other traditional group activities. In a number of tribes in the South Pacific island of New Guineamen use hard gourdlike pods as penis sheaths. Yet a man without this "covering" could be considered to be in an embarrassing state of nakedness.
Among the Chumash people of southern Californiamen were usually naked, and women were often topless. Native Americans of the Amazon Basin usually went nude or nearly nude; in many native tribes, the only clothing worn was some device worn by men to clamp the foreskin shut.
However, other similar cultures have had different standards. For example, other native North Americans avoided total nudity, and the Native Americans of the mountains and west of South America, such as the Quechuaskept quite covered. These taboos normally only applied to adults; Native American children often went naked until puberty if the weather permitted an 11 or year-old Pocahontas scandalized the Jamestown settlers by appearing at their camp and cartwheeling in the nude.
Moroccan scholar Ibn Battuta - wrote the following about the people of Mali :. Among their bad qualities are the following. The women servants, slave-girls, and young girls go about in front of everyone naked, without a stitch of clothing on them. Inat Trinity Island, Trinida Christopher Columbus found the women entirely naked, whereas the men wore a light girdle called guayaco.
At the same epoch, on the Para Coast of Brazilthe girls were distinguished from the married women by their absolute nudity. The same absence of costume was observed among the Chaymas of CumanaVenezuelaand Du Chaillu noticed the same among the Achiras in Gabon.
The association of nakedness with shame and anxiety became ambivalent in the Renaissance in Europe.
The rediscovered art and writings of ancient Greece offered an alternative tradition of nudity as symbolic of innocence and purity which could be understood in terms of the state of man " before the fall ". Subsequently, norms and behaviors surrounding nudity in life and in works of art diverged during the history of individual societies. In Europe up until the 18th century, non-segregated bathing in rivers and bathhouses was the norm. In addition, toplessness was accepted among all social classes and women from queens to prostitutes commonly wore outfits designed to bare the breasts.
During the Enlightenmenttaboos against nudity began to grow and by the Victorian era, public nudity was considered obscene. In addition to beas being segregated by gender, bathing machines were also used to allow people who had changed into bathing suits to enter directly into the water.
During the s, nude swimming became a public offense in Great Britain. In the early 20th century, even exposed male sts were considered unacceptable. During this period, women's bathing suits had to cover at least the thighs and exposure of more than that could lead to arrests for public lewdness.
Swimwear began to move away from this extreme degree of modesty in the s after Hollywood star Johnny Weissmuller began going to beas in just shorts, after which people quickly began copying him.
After WWII, the bikini was first invented in France and despite the initial scandal surrounding it, was widespread and normal by the s. Inin the Soviet Unionan informal organization called the "Down with Shame" movement held mass nude mars in an effort to dispel earlier, "bourgeois" morality. For the Olympic Games in Stockholm inthe official poster was created by a distinguished artist.
It depicted several naked male athletes their genitals obscured and was for that reason considered too daring for distribution in certain countries. Posters for the Olympics in Antwerpthe Olympics in Paris, and the Olympics in Helsinki also featured nude male figures, evoking the classical origins of the games.
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The poster for the London Olympics featured the Discobolusa nude sculpture of a discus thrower. Male nudity in the US and other Western countries was not a taboo within all-male environments for much of the 20th century. Social attitudes maintained that it was healthy and normal for men and boys to be nude around each other and schools, gymnasia, and other such organizations typically required nude male swimming in part for sanitary reasons due to the use of wool swimsuits.
There was less tolerance for female nudity and the same schools and gyms that insisted on wool swimwear being unsanitary for males did not make an exception when women were concerned. Nonetheless, some schools did allow girls to swim nude if they wished.
To cite one example, Detroit public schools began allowing nude female swimming inbut ended it after a few weeks following protests from parents. Other schools continued allowing it, but it was never a universally accepted practice like nude male swimming. When Title IX implemented equality in education inpools became co-ed, ending the era of nude male swimming.
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state of Arkansas passed a law to make it illegal to "advocate, demonstrate, or promote nudism. During the ss, feminist groups in France and Italy lobbied for and obtained the legalization of topless beas despite opposition from the Roman Catholic Church.
Spain would eventually permit toplessness on its beas, but only after the death of ultra-conservative Catholic dictator Francisco Franco in Nowadays, most European countries permit toplessless on normal beas with full nudity allowed only on designated nude beas. Despite this, it is quite normal in many parts of Europe to change clothing publicly even if the person becomes fully naked in the process, as this is taken to not count as public nudity. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Main article: Nudity. Main article: Human evolution. Main article: History of clothing and textiles. Main article: Clothing in ancient Egypt.
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Main article: Ancient Greece. See also: Sexuality in ancient Rome. Bare-breasted goddesses on the Augustan Altar of Peace. Woman wearing a strophium during sex Casa del CentenarioPompeii. See also: Fundoshi and Hadaka Matsuri. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
October Learn how and when to remove this template message. Human sexuality portal Nudity portal. Encyclopedia of Fashion. Retrieved 16 August The Internet Classics Archive. Translated by John Dryden. Retrieved 21 July Retrieved 27 October Penn State Personal Web Server. Archived from the original on 1 March Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 21 December Calunga and the Legacy of an African Language in Brazil.
UNM Press. ISBN Fortunes of Africa: A 5, Year History of Wealth, Greed and Endeavour. Simon and Schuster. The Historie of Travaile into Virginia Britannia. London: Hakluyt Society. Retrieved 5 January UC Berkeley Office of Resources for International and Area Studies.
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The nude first became significant in the art of ancient Greece, where athletic competitions at religious festivals celebrated the human body, particularly the male, in an unparalleled way. The athletes in these contests competed in the nude, and the Greeks considered them embodiments of
Times Literary Supplement. Retrieved 19 December Adams, Cecil 9 December Isthmus; Madison, Wis. Madison, Wis. ISSN ProQuest Altenmuller, Hartwig Egypt: the world of the pharaohs. Cologne: Konemann. Andreatta, David 22 September Democrat and Chronicle. Andrews, Jonathan 1 June Part 2". History of Psychiatry. doi : ISSN X. PMID S2CID Barcan, Ruth a. Nudity: A Cultural Anatomy. Berg Publishers. Barcan, Ruth In Patricia Whelehan; Anne Bolin eds.
The International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality. Bentley, Jerry H.