tunic / textile
Large square tapestry panel in purple wool and undyed linen, surrounding plain areas of cream wool. Outline design in panel of a central roundel and a circular frame inside a square frame with spandrels, all these filled with abstract patterning. Beaded border (details in plain blue wool), outer plain frame. Slits at sides partly repaired with red wool thread; darning at one end in brown wool.
warp: s-spin wool, c.9 ends per cm.
Weft: wool and linen s-spin, c.55 picks main weft per cm. in plain areas and tapestry; for soumak, wool and linens s-spin z-ply.
Edges: outer edges all cut, pairs of internal selvedges at both sides of panel
Sewing: sewing joining the pairs of selvedges, herringbone stitch in s-spin z-ply thread, cream wool. Repairs in red wool s-spin z-ply sewing thread. Darning thread in thick, dark brown s-spin z-ply wool thread.
Condition: poor - worn and discoloured, linen partly perished
- Found/Acquired: Egypt
- Length: 25 centimetres
- Width: 25 centimetres (max)
Purple coloured wool is in fact a mixture of dark blue and dark red fibres.
History of use: woven as part of a larger, mainly cream wool textile, probably a tunic
Pre-acquisition history: cut edges modern
Information from Hero Granger-Taylor 
5 December 2008
Reason for treatment
Surface clean. Humidify. Melinex sleeve.
The textile fragment is weft faced plain weave. It is a large woven square of purple wool (?) with an undyed wool (?) border. The square has a woven pattern in undyed linen (?), green and brown wool (?). There are no finished edges.There is a small area of purple weaving at one corner from an additional patterned stripe.Dimensions: Before conservation: 24.6 x 25.5 cm.After conservation: 25.5 x 28.5cmWeave: Weft: (undyed) S twist, 28 (approx.) per 10 mm.Warp: S twist, 9 per 10 mm.The fragment is fairly complete. It has patchy discolouration and there is some ingrained and encrusted soiling, particularly at one corner of the purple square, both obverse and reverse. There is some particulate soiling and moth frass on the reverse. The textile is crumpled at the corners, with some hard creases. The edges are fraying with some risk of loss. Slits in the weft face weave were originally stitched together with undyed wool (?). There are also three repairs along the slits, similar to the original stitching but made in red wool (?). Besides, the textile has been darned with black wool (?) in three small areas close to the woven slits. It is unclear whether these are historical or recent repairs.The textile is stained with blackened patches at one of the corners.
Surface cleaningThe textile has been gently vacuumed to remove dust and loose fibres using a piece of net that was tied over the nozzle of the vacuum to prevent loss of larger particulates. Other soiling removed consisted of loose fibres, moth frass and particles not belonging to the object. These were placed separately in sealed labelled polyethylene bags.HumidificationThe textile was carefully humidified in order to reduce unwanted crumpling and hard creases, which, if retained, are likely to cause splits in the fabric. The creases were not considered significant or original, but rather from poor storage conditions. The textile was placed for several hours on a sheet of Gore-Tex (a micro porous waterproof fabric containing a membrane of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene), which had been previously placed on top of a cotton fabric slightly moistened with deionised water, with another dry layer of cotton fabric on top. Then, the textile was covered with a polyethylene sheet, sealed with glass weights at the edges to maintain a moist environment. The re-shaping process was very gentle. Once the fibres started to relax, small sand bags and Perspex weights were gradually placed in the areas surrounding the creases. They were checked every 20-30 minutes approximately, and were progressively moved and adjusted to open out the textile and realign distorted areas. A very strong smell was released from the textile. Afterwards, the polyethylene was removed and the textile was weighted slightly with light Perspex weights to prevent creases from reforming whilst drying. Storage mountThe Melinex sleeve consisted of two sleeves, one inner and one outer (54cm x 28 cm). These were heat-sealed, the inner one, along one longer edge, and the outer one along the two opposite shorter edges, so that the inner sleeve could be easily slipped inside. The corners of the Melinex were rounded off as this made it easier to slip the inner sleeve inside the outer one. To avoid movement of the textile inside the inner sleeve a second seal was also made to the inner sleeve to make it smaller. The label was also inserted inside the inner sleeve made from a piece of cotton cloth tape with the number written on with permanent ink pen.
Ancient Egypt & Sudan
Fragment of cream woollen tunic(?); large square tapestry panel in purple wool and undyed linen with outline design: abstract patterning; slits at sides partly repaired with red wool thread; darning at one end in brown wool. After conservation.
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Object reference number: YCA61648
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