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Tunic

  • Place of origin:

    Egypt (made)

  • Date:

    500-700 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plain woven linen or cotton, resist dyed

  • Credit Line:

    Forrer Collection

  • Museum number:

    1522-1899

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This child's tunic has a resist dyed diaper pattern of rosettes within lozenge shaped compartments, and is of an unusual cut for the time. It was found in a grave at Akhmim by the German archaeologist R. Forrer and dated to the 6th-7th centuries. Hitherto, most Egyptian tunics were cut in a T-shape, but the tunic shown here is of a more 'tailored' cut. It has a neck opening at the side with a slit along the shoulder; the sleeves are slightly curved narrowing towards the wrists but most importantly, gores have been inserted in the side seams of the skirt, allowing the garment a better shape and fit. This reflects the development of tailoring in the 5th and 6th centuries in Egypt which is thought to have been introduced by foreign tunics, predominantly from Syria and Iran.

Physical description

A child's tunic made of resist dyed linen or cotton with indigo; diaper pattern of rosettes with lozenge shaped compartments. T-shaped cut with side gores at skirt and slightly curved sleeves, neck opening at side with slit along shoulder closed with loop and button.

Place of Origin

Egypt (made)

Date

500-700 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Plain woven linen or cotton, resist dyed

Dimensions

Height: 47 cm shoulder to hem, Width: 59.5 cm sleeve wrist to sleeve wrist

Object history note

Tunic come from the german archaeologist R. Forrer collection and allegedly found in a grave at Akhmim. The early date, 6th to 7th centuries, has been questioned. The use of cotton (if it is cotton - a closer examination is needed) and the form of the tunic which differs from most early tunics found in Egypt suggest a late medieval date. Tunics of similar cut, however, including one in cotton have been found at Halabiyeh (ancient Zenobia in Syria) and can probably be dated prior to the sack of that town by Khusrô II in 610 AD.

Historical context note

In the early Medieval period the tunic changed shape, in Egypt around 5-6th centuries, after other Middle Eastern influences, such as Syrian and Iranian tunic shapes.

Descriptive line

Child's tunic resist dyed diaper pattern of rosettes with lozenge shaped compartments, probably cotton.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Vogelsang-Eastwood, Gillian, Fra Faraos Klædeskab. Mode i Oldtidens Ægypten (Amsterdam / København: Batavian Lion / Nationalmuseet, 1995), p. 89, fig. 151.

Labels and date

CHILD'S COTTON TUNIC
6th - 7th century
Painted with a resist, and dyed with indigo. Found in a grave at Akhmin.
The use of cotton, and the form of the tunic, which differs from most early tunics found in Egypt, have led some authorities to suggest a late medieval date for this piece. Tunics of similar cut, however, including one in cotton, have been found at Halabiych (ancient Zenobia), and can probably be dated prior to the sack of that town by Khusrô in 610 A.D.
From the Forrer collection.
1522-1899. [after 1899]

Production Note

Found in a grave at Akhmim

Materials

Linen; Cotton

Techniques

Plain weave; Resist dyeing

Categories

Archaeology; Children's clothes; Images Online; Textiles; Death; Africa

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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