Goddesses’ Gowns and Kings’ Kilts in New Kingdom Egyptian Tomb Paintings

Date & Time: 
Monday, February 18, 2019 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Egyptian pharaohs and goddesses wear extraordinary patterned garments in New Kingdom paintings. Though the goddess gowns are traditionally considered ‘bead-net’ dresses, the ornate patterns could have been woven with the same method used by weavers to create bands on the Tunic of Tutankhamun. In an experimental archaeology project that examines the patterned fabrics displayed in costumes in Minoan frescoes and on beautiful Egyptian wall paintings from Eighteenth and Nineteenth Dynasty tombs, as well as surviving woven textiles from Tutankhamun’s tomb, it is demonstrated that the patterns found on goddess gowns and kings’ kilts were neither nets of beads nor figments of the painter’s imagination.

The project reveals that the ability to weave complex patterns was understood in the Late Bronze Age, when conquest and commerce in the Mediterranean flourished under powerful pharaohs.

See Ms. Hoskins’ article in the Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, volume 47 (2011):

Woven Patterns on Tutankhamun Textiles

Nancy Arthur Hoskins

Nancy has written three books on textiles, including “The Coptic Tapestry Albums and the Archaeologist of Antinoé, Albert Gayet,” and is a contributor to other works on Egyptian textiles. Her paper, Woven Patterns on the Tutankhamun Textiles, was published in The Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt. A series of articles on the Gowns and Kilts project has appeared in an international textile journal, and fifty woven samples were exhibited in 2017 as Ephemeral Fabrics from Egypt and Aegean: Before and After Tutankhamun. She holds an MA from the University of Oregon in Fine Arts/Weaving, Art Education, and Art History. Nancy led Textile Tours of Egypt in 2009 and again in 2010.


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