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  • Place of origin:

    Egypt (made)
    Akhmim (Probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 30BC-AD300 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Woven papyrus and halfa grass (?)

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Partial fibre sandal, Egyptian, ca. 30BC-AD300 (probably). Decorated with red diagonal stripes and binding. Acquired from D.B. Myers.

Coptic footwear was primarily made with leather, often using the turned technique, to produce a slipper or shoe with a straight sole. Slippers often included a rand at the vamp and a fibre padded sole sewn together with prominent stitching or insole tab. They show variation in the form and height of the instep. Shoes were generally slip-ons and also show variation in the form and height of the instep. Footwear was highly decorated in geometric and floral designs. Often a variety of techniques were used in combination, with the most popular being dyeing, gilding, openwork and appliqué.

Physical description

A partial, flat, fibre sewn sandal. Pointed toe and round heel. Medial tread missing. Holes (8mm diameter) present where back straps were attached at seat. Reinforced sole: The treadsole is protected from the ground with two stripes of plaited papyrus. One follows sandal perimeter and the other runs down the centre and ends at seat with exposed fibres. Outer plait is 1cm wide and only remains on lateral side. Only the waist section of the middle plait remains. Treadsole: Straight, possible Left. A layer of papyrus strips running horizontally. Darker, natural colour than the insole. Midsole: Layer of papyrus that lies vertically along the length of the sandal. The insole stripes lie diagonally over this layer. Insole: Composed of diagonal stripes of dyes red and natural papyrus (?). Stripe widths between 13mm and 15mm remain. Perimeter cores of halfa grass (?) at right angle to sole. Outer core is 15mm wide and red fibre is wrapped around long cores. The red stripes are wrapped into all three soles to tie the layers. The inner core is a thin (2mm diameter) stripe of halfa grass (?). Bound with red fibre.

Place of Origin

Egypt (made)
Akhmim (Probably, made)


ca. 30BC-AD300 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Woven papyrus and halfa grass (?)


Length: 250 mm, Width: 35 mm Waist, Width: 55 mm Seat, Thickness: 7 mm Sole

Object history note

Acquired from D.B. Myers.

Descriptive line

Partial fibre sandal, Egyptian, ca. 30BC-AD300 (probably). Decorated with red diagonal stripes and binding.

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

See R. Smalley, "Dating Coptic Footwear: A Typological and Comparative Approach", Journal of Coptic Studies 14 (2012): 97-135




Weaving; Dyeing; Plaiting


Africa; Archaeology; Death; Footwear


Middle East Section

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