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Tunic Fragment with Button Closure

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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.

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