Ancient Egyptian Tunic

Date: Dynasty 21 1069-945 BC
Medium: Linen
Dimensions: 16 ½ H x 50 ½ W
Credit: Gift of Samuel W. Brown
Accession Number: 1909.18.3

This type of garment is sometimes refered to as a Kalasiris (described by fifth century BC Greek historian Herodotus, and by Phintys, a female Greek writer/philosopher of the fourth century BC). This tunic was worn by both sexes as an everyday article of clothing, especially by members of the upper, or non-laboring class (men of lower status wore a type of kilt around the waist or a loin cloth). It also could be worn under a kind of cloak draped over the shoulders and cinched at the waist Made of linen, the version of the tunic was tied at the waist (evidence of belt loops were found on the Institute’s garment), and has a fringe at the bottom hem and decorative stitching at the collar (also still visible on the institute's tunic). It was made with a wide piece of finely woven linen fabric sewn together along one side (probably originally bleached). The tunic was discovered bundled, and placed beneath the mummy of Ankhefenmut. It may have had sleeves (now missing) which would have been made separately and sewed on.  Such garments rarely survive and it was a surprizing discovery when the mummy of Ankhefenmut was moved and this was found beneath him.


Despite its deteriorated condition, several features identify it as this typical garment worn by men (and women). It was made with a wide piece of fabric sewn together on one side, gathered and tied at the waist.