Tunic Fragment with Button Closure

This lovely tunic fragment features an intact neck flap with a button closure; both the button and the loop are made of undyed linen. The fine linen ground is embellished with alternating clusters of thick and thin self-bands (ornamental bands of multiple, undyed weft threads). The delicate clavi feature brilliant red pomegranates and blossom sprays bordered by leaves on a red ground. Red dyes, frequently found in textiles from Egypt, were derived from a variety of sources, including safflower, wild and cultivated madder, and scale insects including kermes, cochineals, and several species that produce a scarlet resinous secretion called lac. These dyestuffs were dried for use and were thus easily stored and transported.

Not on view

Public Domain

Object Details

Title: Tunic Fragment with Button Closure

Date: 5th–8th century

Geography: Attributed to Egypt

Medium: Linen, wool; tapestry weave

Dimensions: H. 17 in. (43.2 cm)
W. 10 1/2 in. (26.7 cm)

Classification: Textiles

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1909

Accession Number: 09.50.1431

Friedrich FischbachCollection, Wiesbaden (until 1909; sold to Dr. Voos for MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Clothing in Byzantine Egypt: Textiles from Egypt 200–900 CE," November 9, 2009–June 12, 2011.