Leather loincloth

From Thebes, Egypt
New Kingdom (1550-1070 BC)

Probably made of gazelle skin

This leather loincloth was made from a single piece of hide, perhaps the skin of a gazelle. The diamond pattern decoration was produced by making a series of staggered slits, then pulling the leather to enlarge the holes. The large rectangular area was left uncut to protect the buttocks of the wearer and a band around the edge has been left uncut for added strength. The cut leather is more flexible than a solid sheet, allowing freedom of movement. It also allows air to flow around the body, preventing chafing. The mesh is both decorative and functional.

This type of loincloth was popular in the New Kingdom (1550-1070 BC), and was worn only by men. It was placed over the usual linen loincloth to protect it from wear. Agricultural workers, soldiers, sailors and craftsmen are shown wearing this type of leather loincloth in tomb scenes. Examples of this type of garment have been found in the tombs of kings and of high officials. Most of the latter group had some connection with Nubia and similar loincloths have been found in C-group graves in Nubia. Leather loincloths are also sometimes shown being worn by African tribute bearers. This suggests that the garment might be of Nubian origin.

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More information

Bibliography

G. Vogelsang-Eastwood, Pharaonic Egyptian clothing (Leiden, E.J. Brill, 1993)

Dimensions

Length: 33.000 cm
Width: 30.500 cm

Museum number

EA 2564

YCA60982

Salt Collection

Location

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