The Tarkhan Dress, housed in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, is an exemplar of ancient Egyptian textiles, categorized as a tunic or dress. Made from a supple brown linen, this piece shows attention to detail in its weaving with a surprising conservation of the original shape, despite being over 5000 years old. It is estimated to originate from the period of 2945-2835 BC, revealing the complex abilities of the era in weaving and garment creation.

The main body of the dress features a V-neck design and is characterized by a compressed pleating style, which is still visible in the material. The narrow sleeves are notable, defined by a fold-along and stitch-down design along the edges, displaying the refined tailoring techniques of the time. Additionally, the edges of the sleeves include fringing for decorative purposes.

The bottom hem echoes the style of pleating found on the body, but in a broader fashion. Stitching above the hemline suggests potential adjustments for a more bespoke fit.

Measuring 50cm in length and 50cm in chest width when laid flat, the small size of the garment implies it was intended for a young adolescent or a smaller adult.

Despite its age, the dress is remarkably well-preserved, exhibiting minor signs of wear such as light staining and some fraying. The absence of a shoulder seam indicates that it was crafted from a single piece of fabric, further emphasizing the advanced tailoring skills of the period.

Uncovered from the elite tomb complex of Tarkhan in Upper Egypt, the dress provides valuable insight into the owner's likely social status as well as the style preferences of the upper classes during ancient Egyptian civilization.

Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology