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Special Presentation A Child’s Garment from Lebanon 10 September to 7 November 2021

The Abegg-Stiftung has been studying and conserving a group of archaeological textiles from Lebanon for several years now. The garments and accessories dating from the thirteenth century were found during excavations in the Assi el-Hadath cave in the Qadisha Valley between 1988 and 1993. Thanks to the dry climate there they are well preserved and are now prized as unique testimony to the clothes worn by a rural population during the Middle Ages. They tell us how carefully cloth was handled in those days and how even small pieces of fabric were made up into garments, which were then decorated and repaired as needed.
The child’s dress exhibited here belongs to the National Museum of Beirut and was studied, documented and conserved for a master’s project in textile conservation and restoration at the Abegg-Stiftung/Bern University of Applied Sciences. Media Release | Master’s Thesis Poster

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Child’s garment

The sleeveless garment consists of an undyed lining as well as remnants of a green silk outer fabric. A red braided trim adorns the neckline and sleeve openings. The reconstruction exhibited in the background gives an impression of how the garment would have looked originally. It was made in order to understand the exact cut and the complicated process by which the garment was made. The many repairs tell of the garment’s use over many years. Its original length is not known as there is no preserved hem.
After documenting the condition of the piece, it was cleaned by vacuuming. Severe folds were reduced by humidification. To secure the garment, the fragile areas were sewn in between two layers of nylon tulle. In a complex and time-consuming process, the tulle was first dyed beige and in places green and red to perfectly match the object as a visually discreet support. | Lebanon, 13th century; half linen fabric and silk fabric, braided silk trim; Beirut, Direction Générale des Antiquités du Liban, inv. no. 116331