Elite garments and head-dresses of the late neo-Elamite period (7th-6th century BC)

Javier Álvarez-Mon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The study of first Millennium BC elite garments can be considered to be exceptional; as is it actually possible to correlate surviving physical remains with comparable textual and artistic evidence The main purpose of this investigation is to bring into academic discussion the visual corpus of late Neo-Elamite elite garments and head-dresses. To this purpose, the author has assembled quality photographs and produced complementary new line-drawings. An important element of diagnosis characterizing the Neo-Elamite elite robe is the combination of fringes with parallel (ladder) bands including rosettes or disks. Stylistically (and chronologically) this clothing is framed by the lavish elite Mesopotamian "sky-garments" which by the 7 th century BC had distinctly evolved towards a "minimalist" display of arrangements and motifs. This reduced repertoire is contrasted by an affluence of bracteates in the shape of rosettes, circles or dots, and squares. On the other end there is a variety of costumes and new garment styles introduced during the Persian Empire, including the broad-sleeve, draped court-dress, introduced by Darius I with its conspicuous absence of fringes. In addition, the fortuitous discoveries at Arjān and Nimrud of cotton-made fabrics indicate that by the 8 th-7 th centuries BC a novelty of garments were being adopted by members of the Assyrian and Elamite elites. Taken altogether, this evidence suggests an innovative period in the history of garments characterized by the presence of splendid wardrobes and luxurious fabrics, sumptuously ornamented, with metal appliqués (bracteates), sophisticated embroidery (needle work), and fringes (knotted work including rosettes).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-235
Number of pages29
JournalArchaologische Mitteilungen aus Iran und Turan
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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