Assyrian clothing

Assyrian clothing varies from village to village throughout the Assyrian homeland and beyond.


The earliest type of costume here is a rather elaborate shawl drapery worn without any tunic underneath. Later comes the tunic with various-fringed shawl draperies worn in addition, and some of the latest types have the tunic worn alone without the shawl draperies. The dates given for the costumes illustrated in this style have been verified at the British Museum. It should be remembered, as in the case of ancient Egyptians costume, that the dresses changed very slowly indeed, and most styles of this era were worn literally for hundreds of years.

Cutting out

The knee-length and full-length tunics with short sleeves are the most common dress worn to different types of headdress. There were essentially only two types of garment generally found in the representations of ancient Assyrian costume: the shawl and the tunic.

These vary in size and proportion, and are worn either alone, but more generally in combination.


The most common material for clothing was wool, although linen had been known from an early period and was often used for better-quality garments. Cotton did not become available until Sennacherib introduced it into Assyria in about 700 BC, from which time it was used for the making of cloth. Other materials sometimes used were leather and papyrus. The skins and furs of animals and metal were also in use, but chiefly for military and hunting costume.


Though the actual specimens of these costumes are not possessed, it can still be inferred from the lavish ornament and, from references in the Old Testament writings that rich coloring prevailed. The dyes were probably similar to those of ancient Egypt, and this table will suggest the particular hue of each color:

All these colors could be used as embroideries on a white or natural colored ground of linen, the embroideries being of wool. In other cases the whole garment might be colored throughout.


Except in earliest examples, decoration is lavish in Assyrian costume, in fact, the costume of a king when at its richest may be said to be absolutely covered with ornament. Jewelry, woven and embroidered patterns, and fringes are used in the utmost profusion. Other decorations may include Bracelets, earrings, Various forms of Tassels, Winged globe, Palm tree, Lappet (king's tiara), Vessels, Sword handles, Footwear.

Assyrian characteristics

Some of the Assyrian characteristics may include: The sacred tree, repeated patterns and borders on costumes, various types of rosettes much used in Assyrian decorations. These would be either woven or embroidered.

Differences between male and female clothing

The representations of costume which Assyrian art has left are almost entirely those of men's dress. Two examples of women's dresses are a plain ungirded tunic and a simply draped shawl covering the figure partially. The second is a dress of a Queen, and has the tunic almost entirely covered with a voluminous shawl. The wide belt with narrow belt over it seems to be confined to the men's costume, as also the tighter and scantier shawl draperies, which exist in singular variety.


Traditional Assyrian clothing of the men of the Tyari region.


External links


  1. Brigadier-Gen. H.H. Austin, "The Baqubah Refugee Camp", The Faith Press, london 1920.
  2. Bird, Isabella. "Journeys in Persia and Kurdistan, including a summer in the Upper Karun region and a visit to the Nestorian rayahs". John Murray, London. 1891.
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