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Embroidered Tunic, Dush (Egypt)

The Dush embroidered tunic, housed in the Kharga Oasis Museum The Dush embroidered tunic, housed in the Kharga Oasis Museum Photograph by courtesy of Rosanne Livingstone.

An embroidered tunic was discovered at the archaeological site of Dush, in the south of the Kharqa oasis, Egypt. The site was occupied from at least the mid-third millennium BC until the fifth century AD. Since 1976 the area around Dush has been investigated by the Institut français d’archéologie orientale (IFAO, Cairo).

In 1981, archaeologists excavated a cemetery that contained numerous burials. In particular, Tomb 20 contained the wrapped body of a baby girl. The infant was unwrapped in 1984 and the remains of an adult-sized embroidered tunic were recorded during the examination.

The T-shaped linen tunic with long, narrow sleeves, has been dated to the late fourth or early fifth century AD. It is embroidered around the neck opening and down the front and on the back of the garment with two long clavi (stripes). The clavi were worked in green, dark purple, bright red, bright violet, and yellow wool. Purple is the predominant colour. The main embroidery stitches that were used are double running stitch, random filling stitch, satin stitch, stem stitch, tent stitch and a joining stitch of some kind.

The basic design consists of bands of leaves, interlinking heart shapes, garlands and interlinking geometric forms, as well as human faces. At the end of the clavi are pendants in the shape of winged figures, holding garlands, which can be interpreted as putti, victory figures, or possibly angels.

Source: DUNAND, Françoise and Roger LICHTENBERG (1985). ‘Une tunique brodée de la nécropole de Douch', Bulletin de l'Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale, pp. 133-18.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 17 May 2017 11:40