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Tutankhamun's Textiles Reconstructions of the clothing and textiles found in the tomb of Tutankhamun

Hundreds of garments and other textiles were found inside the tomb of Tutankhamun. Beside simple rolls of cloth and plain tunics, the tomb produced elaborate garments, sometimes decorated with fayence and gold. This collection of textiles is the only surviving royal wardrobe of the pharaonic period.
The Tutankhamun Textiles & Clothing Project
Howard Carter was aware of the importance of the textiles of Tutankhamun, but in the years after the discovery of the tomb in 1922 he never found time to make a detailed study. During ten years the tomb was gradually cleared and notes were made about every object found. In addition to numerous drawings and descriptions in diaries, more than 2500 record cards and over 1500 photographs were made by Carter and his team.
This material provided the basis of a detailed study started in 1993 by a team of the Egyptology department of the Leiden University led by Dr. G.M. Vogelsang-Eastwood, with the support of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.



Sails, tunics and leopard skins types of textiles
The number of textiles in the tomb was impressive; over 740 garments, shrouds, covers of statues and textile objects like quivers and sails of boats models were found. Probably quite a few of textiles were stolen during the looting of the tomb, shortly after the burial. This explains the seemingly excessive number of loincloths: precious garments like royal tunics and sashes were taken away by the looters. It was not only the gold decoration of the garments which attracted the robbers. The linen of many tunics and sashes was extremely fine woven. With over fifty threads per centimeter, the decorative pattern of one of the surviving tunics
The textiles found in KV 62
137(+5) loincloths
13(+4) tunics
10(+1) sashes
3(+1) wings
1 royal jacket
1 cuirass/leather scale armor
25(+7) shawls
2 hip-wraps
1 nemes
20(+19) khats
2 aprons
4 kilts
6(+2) pair of gloves
2(+2) pair of socks
4(+1) guards/archer’s pads
4+ leopard skins
1 portable pavilion
1 large pall
6 shrouds
2 quivers
4 hassocks
1 cushion
1(+1) bags
1 horse housing
3 sails of boat models
106 wrappings and covers of statues and other objects
316 rolls, masses of decayed cloth, box linings, chariot linings (x)=number of uncertain identification
has been described as "painted".

Wings
One of the most mysterious objects encountered during the research of the textiles, were short tubes of linen, with a pair of bird wings attached to it. Carter examined these textiles only shortly and described them in his notes as 'some kind of headgear'.
In many depictions of the pharaoh, protective wings are worn across the chest. In all these cases however, the body of the bird, mostly a falcon, can be seen slightly above the hips. It is unclear how these "falcons" are fastened to the body.
The wings found in the tomb of Tutankhamun were worn in pairs, the body of the birds resting on the shoulders, and with the wings across the chest and back. The tube section was in fact a short sleeve. Most likely the heads, and part of the bodies, of the birds were covered by a collar.
The conventions of the pharaonic art demand a complete as possible depiction of people, animals and objects, and especially important figures as kings, gods and protective birds like the falcon. This explains why these winged garments were shown lower on the body in the paintings and reliefs.


 

 


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