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.

Find in the collection online

Strip of decorated linen

From Egypt New Kingdom or later, after 1550 BC

  • Bag of salt to dry out body

    Bag of salt to dry out body

  • Tweezers used to clean out the chest cavity

    Tweezers used to clean out the chest cavity

  • Probe used to remove the brain

    Probe used to remove the brain

 

More information

Bibliography

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

Dimensions

Length: 60.000 cm
Width: 17.000 cm

Museum number

EA 6517

YCA64883

Location

Find in the collection online



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