Hegira 3rd–4th centuries / AD 9th–10th centuries
A 6 bis
Linen embroidered in wool.
Length 70 cm, width 50 cm to 70 cm; 120 cm (with sleeves)
This tunic is dyed black. It has a rounded collar and half-length sleeves. The garment opens at the back and can only be donned by first putting the hand into the sleeves. It was probably made for a child and is similar in design to contemporary Coptic clothing. The embroidery occurs where the sleeves join the body and is different on each side.
The right-hand band has a red background on which yellow lines form geometric shapes. These are interspersed with medallion shapes containing stylised vegetable, floral and animal motifs, some could be hares.
In the left-hand band the colours are more varied and the motifs are animal; mainly hares and dogs in blue, green and black. The background is yellow. The two bands are framed with pious inscriptions in angular kufic lettering embroidered in silk. Although they are damaged and almost illegible, we can read;
'Lasting blessings […] sovereignty is with God'.
The shape of this linen tunic, dyed black and undoubtedly intended for a child, is reminiscent of Coptic clothes. Each sleeve is decorated around the shoulders slightly differently from the other with plant and floral elements mixed with stylised zoomorphic motifs.
Tunics dating from the High Muslim era are rare, and this limits our dating criteria. However, based on the decoration and the type of script, we can date this object fairly accurately from the 3rd–4th / 9th–10th centuries.
This garment was bought from an antique dealership in Cairo in 1958 by H. H. Abdelwahab, former Director of the National Institute of Art and Archaeology. He donated it to the Bardo Museum in 1962.
Skik, K., Musée du Bardo, département musulman, Tunis, 1974, p.16, fig. 6.
Mourad Rammah "Tunic" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;tn;Mus01_A;47;en
Prepared by: Mourad RammahMourad Rammah
Né en 1953 à Kairouan, docteur en archéologie islamique, Mourad Rammah est le conservateur de la médina de Kairouan. Lauréat du prix Agha Khan d'architecture, il publie divers articles sur l'histoire de l'archéologie médiévale islamique en Tunisie et participe à différentes expositions sur l'architecture islamique. De 1982 à 1994, il est en charge du département de muséographie du Centre des arts et des civilisations islamiques. Mourad Rammah est également directeur du Centre des manuscrits de Kairouan.
Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: David Ash
Translation copyedited by: Mandi GomezMandi Gomez
Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.
True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.
MWNF Working Number: TN 74
Islamic Dynasties / Period
On display in
Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)The Abbasids | Managing Prosperity
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