Plain weave in cotton, patterned weave in silk and wool felt
Length 42 cm x width 30 cm
Museum no. LOAN:STEIN.207 (L.C.i.02.a-b)
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
On loan from Government of India and the Archaeological Survey of India
These two textile fragments consist of layers of plain woven plant fibre, perhaps cotton, padded with wool felt. The larger piece has remains of a silk band edged with patterned Han silk. It is likely that the pieces once made up a garment. No complete garment has yet been recovered from the Loulan grave pits but discoveries in other burial sites suggest that a certain type of garment dominated in the region. This style of caftan was well cut with tight sleeves cut separately and seamed in, usually with sleeve and side gores. It was made of wool or cotton, often with silk edgings. This type of clothing represents a predominantly male garment that originated in the Eurasian steppe world and became very popular in Central Asia. However, sometimes the lapels were closing on the proper right as in Chinese fashion. It seems like the garments were of nomad origin, but with influences from Chinese clothing.