Woollen Tunic

dark blue wool, with areas of ornament in woollen tapestry weave

223 x 108cm

In cut and technique, this tunic belongs to a tradition of costume established in Egypt in the Roman period and adopted by the Coptic population, evidently persisting into the early Islamic period too. A slit for the head runs at right angles to the warp and extensions at the sides form short sleeves: only the sides required sewing together to turn it into a tunic. The tapestry-woven areas at the collar and nape include panels with horses, while the shoulder bands have sea monsters with hasp-like appendages, similar to illuminations in early Qur’ans, and roundels with human figures.

J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.53, p.60.