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Type: Clothing - Garment
Object Name: Robe
Local Name: aba
Place Made: Asia: West Asia, Arabian Peninsula, Syria
Period: Early to mid 20th century
Date: 1900 - 1950
Dimensions: L 134 cm x W 103 cm
Materials: Silk; metal thread
Techniques: Plain woven; supplementary weft; hand-sewn; braided; couched
ID Number: T89.0182
Credit: Gift of Dr. Howard Gorman

Situated in the Syrian desert, the oasis city of Palmyra was a major conduit for the caravan trade in luxury silk textiles, originating in China and transported along the Silk Road to the markets of the West. Raw silk was also imported to be spun, woven and dyed. In the 6th century, silk production was introduced into Syria and the leaves of the white mulberry tree, which grows in the Syrian mountains, provided the staple food for the silk worms. Luxurious silk dresses became necessary accessories in the lifestyle of the rich and powerful. The style of clothing and jewellery featured on statues in Palmyra has, in some cases, continued to the present day. This fine silk aba is a common garment worn by upper-class men in the Middle East today, and there are many variations in the style. The most splendid of these are produced in Syria and Iraq.