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Most of the clothing on display belongs to the Period after the Christian take over of Egypt, the Coptic Period (c.300 AD onward). Some extend into the Islamic Period (c.600 AD onward). We do not have any pieces of fabric which are clearly textiles from the Pharaonic Period. However, it is possible that many of the plain unstitched pieces of fabric in the collection were used as garments. Many dresses and kilts appear to have consisted of wrap around pieces which would not be cut and sewn. However, it is also possible that such pieces in our collection may have been used for other purposes, e.g. shrouds, bed coverings or towels. 

Throughout most of Egyptian history the most common textile was linen which is made from the flax plant. 

We need to be careful of assuming that the depictions we see of clothing in Egyptian art was what people actually wore. Clothing in art was often stylistic. So, for example children were shown without clothing even though we know from tomb excavations that children wore clothing (it would have been too cold in the Egyptian winter not to wear clothing). Very often gods and goddesses are shown in what would have been old fashioned styles.

Textiles in the collection include:

W869 New Kingdom painted shroud

EC58 looped linen

‘Coptic’ textiles

EC1260 Islamic Period textile

Fragment of tunic with Islamic script

We also have podcasts of demonstations of experimental manufacture of ancient Egyptian textiles