Rare Silk Tunic Fragment with Ornamental Sleeve Band

Rare Silk Tunic Fragment with Ornamental Sleeve Band

400s-500s

Plain weave: silk; tapestry weave with supplementary weft wrapping; undyed linen, dyed wool, silk

Overall: 6.4 x 26.8 cm (2 1/2 x 10 9/16 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1982.77

Description

This is the only known remnant of a silk tunic among thousands of tapestry-woven decorations that have survived in the dry Egyptian climate. Expensive imported silk, instead of indigenous linen or wool, formed the entire luxurious ground of the tunic, visible along the sides of the fragment. Shiny silk thread also formed some of the details, along with thicker linen thread, on the unusually brilliant purple wool ground. Two males wearing a short garment (chiton) draped over one shoulder appear under vines emanating from baskets. One holds a club with a rabbit beside him; the other bears a staff and a leaf.

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