© Khalili Family Trust © Khalili Family Trust

Name of Object:

Silk coat


London, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

Khalili Family Trust – Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art


Around 600 AD


Textile A
C-14 dating: AD 533–615 (87.4% probability). Because of its evolved design, the actual date must be closer to the end of this range.
Textile B
C-14 dating: two date ranges, AD 430–93 and AD 530–96 (95.4% probability). The actual date is more likely to be at the upper end of the second range, close to 600 AD.
Textile C
The approximate date of this lining silk can be estimated as c. 600 AD, because a yellow fragment with the same weave and design was found in a tomb at Astana, near Turfan, with documents dating between AD 541–622

Type of object:

Textile; coat; long-sleeved coat; silk; samite (samit)

Museum Inventory Number:

TXT 395

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Five different silk textiles: two samites, a self-patterned tabby and two plain tabbies


L: 148cm, W: 216cm (sleeves outstretched)

Period / Dynasty:



Iran and China


The coat is made of two patterned textiles. The first, a fine late-Sasanian samite with a design of roundels enclosing a peacock in profile, is used mainly around the edges (textile A). The second, a samite of medium quality with a design of roundels enclosing a peacock presented frontally, forms the principal parts of the coat and was most probably made by Iranian weavers working in China (textile B). The lining, which survives mostly in the sleeves, is a purplish-brown self-patterned tabby silk of Chinese origin, (textile C). Its design is based on overlapping ovals enclosing a seated ruler, paired animals or birds and a fantastic animal, perhaps a dragon. In addition, two plain tabby fabrics are used as a facing inside the extremities of the coat and an interlining for the collar. Alterations to the coat appear to have involved adding the second samite, textile B, so that it became the its principal textile.

Although these precious samites have been cut up into much smaller pieces than should have been necessary, this kind of garment construction is evidently a common feature among finds from Dulan, the site from which the coat almost certainly comes.

Selected bibliography:

Granger-Taylor, H., in Textiles, Carpets and Costumes, London: The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume 14, Part One, 2018. [Title in preparation / forthcoming]

Citation of this web page:

Compiled by Nahla Nassar  "Silk coat" in Explore Islamic Art Collections , Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;EPM;uk;Mus21;44;en&id=clothing_and_costume

Prepared by: Compiled by Nahla Nassar

MWNF Working Number: UK1 44