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Strip of decorated linen

From Egypt New Kingdom or later, after 1550 BC

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    Tweezers used to clean out the chest cavity

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Length: 60.000 cm
Width: 17.000 cm

EA 6517

Ancient Egypt and Sudan

    Strip of decorated linen

    From Egypt
    New Kingdom or later, after 1550 BC

    Linen with a blue and red striped border

    Pieces of fabric were not woven specifically for wrapping mummies. The textiles used for mummy bandages were often household linen or clothing, torn into strips. The fabric was frequently worn and had been darned. These pieces can sometimes be reassembled to discover the nature of the original garments.

    The torn edge of this strip of fabric is quite regular, and the linen is of quite good quality. This suggests that it was originally part of a garment which was torn up carefully for use in wrapping a mummy. Unfortunately the fragment of fabric is too small to determine the type of garment to which it originally belonged.

    Evidence from mummy wrappings shows that garments of the New Kingdom (1550-1070 BC) and later were sometimes decorated with coloured borders. In many cases these were blue, as in this example, and consisted of stripes of different widths, usually located at the selvage edges of the fabric. Wider bands of colour placed either side of a series of pinstripes seems to have been very popular. The blue stripes on this example alternate with red ones, now extremely faded. At the time that this fabric was woven, blue dye was made from indigotin, and red from madder.

    S. Quirke and A.J. Spencer, The British Museum book of anc (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)

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