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  • Place of origin:

    Tunisia (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1870-1899 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered cotton with silk, trimmed with cotton fringes

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Sir Harold E. Satow

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is a detail from a simple garment made from a horizontal length of cotton seamed across the shoulders and down one side to form a rectangle. What appear to be self-coloured vertical stripes in the finished robe are formed by varying thicknesses of weft. In addition there are three patterned bands of coloured silk. The neck opening is small but extends in a slit along one shoulder and is secured by a yellow and green woollen cord. There are four tiny silk tassels in the centre of the neck that have tangled to form a pompom. The fringing is made with white and red cotton that was knotted in alternate directions around groups of warp threads as the fabric was being woven; the alternate directions create a wavy effect along each row when the garment is worn.

Physical description

Man's robe of striped cotton embroidered with silk and trimmed with added cotton fringes. Made from one piece of cloth joined at the top and down one side, leaving holes for the arms and at the neck. The neck hole, only 4 inches across, is shaped and has a slip 5.5 inches long to one side.

With decorative stripe patterns, horizontal on the loom and vertical on the robe. Thick self-colour stripes, joined by shoots of thicker cotton weft unevenly spun, are flanked by narrow strips where the weft is less tightly beaten together than in the main body of the material, giving a three dimensional effect. In addition, at intervals of over a foot (12 inches), are single rows of knots in white and red cotton, round four or five warp threads with a pile of over two inches, forming fringes. These alternate with bands of flat woven decoration with small repeating geometric motifs in blue, red-brown, yellow and white. The stripes of the flat decoration and three of the tufted are on each side of the robe, with an extra narrower stripe of the flat decoration under the armhole without the join.

The join and edges of slits are neatly covered by a very narrow braid of red, white, blue, green and yellow silk. Additional lengths of braid, ending in tufts of coloured silk, decorate the lines of shoulders and neck. A free-running cord with tassel connects the points between the shaped neck and shoulder slit.

Place of Origin

Tunisia (probably, made)


1870-1899 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Embroidered cotton with silk, trimmed with cotton fringes


Length: 43.5 in, Width: 40 in approx.

Descriptive line

Man's robe of cotton embroidered with silk, probably made in Tunisia, 1870-1899

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

Crill, Rosemary, Jennifer Wearden and Verity Wilson. Dress in Detail from Around the World. London: V&A Publications, 2002. 224 p., ill. ISBN 09781851773787. p. 216


Cotton; Silk


Weaving; Sewing; Embroidering


Men's clothes; Embroidery; Textiles; Africa


Middle East Section

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