Reconstructing Authentic "Looks"


The late antique tunics and shawls developed from earlier Roman traditions have an enormously expanded expressive potential thanks in large part to their pattern-woven decorations. The pattern-woven decoration shown here is in fairly good condition although it constitutes just one portion of the garment from which it was taken.

What is the subject matter of this decoration?

What kind of theme could the subject reflect?

How would you reconstruct the entire garment?


For what kind of person do you think this decoration was made?


Square ornament

Tapestry weave applied to plain weave ground

Purple wool, undyed linen

Atiya purchase, 1953

Kelsey Museum 29167




The textile shown below is a partially deteriorated portion of a large, decorated and fringed shawl.

Its poor state of preservation is typical for late antique textile artifacts, and provides a graphic example of the daunting physical tasks of reconstructing actual textiles.


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