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by Archaeology Newsroom

A Child’s Tunic in the Coptic Collection of the Benaki Museum

This loom-shaped child’s tunic was woven to cross shape in one piece – body and sleeves -, with the hood whip-stitched to the body. The weaving begun with the right sleeve, then the two sections of the warp were added. It is woolen, tapestry woven throughout. with ornaments of purple wool and undyed linen. The garment was folded after the course of weaving ana sewn. Reinforced selvedges, finishing cords, fringes and weft twining remain intact. The decoration of the tunic consists of clavi and medallions, and, in regard to the designs, the stylized birds, fishes and circles are motives of earlier origin. As related material indicates, it is assumed that the tunic was woven on a two-beam vertical loom, which had a shed rod, a heddle rod, but not a reed. The weaver was facing the right side of the textile. The quality of the material and the careful technical execution prove the high standards of weaving arc textile art in Egypt, the country of provenance of the tunic, during the eighth and ninth centuries AD, the period from which this garment is dated.