Day 8 The oldest trousers in the world

We all have at least one pair of trousers in the wardrobe these days. But where does it come from? The oldest pair of trousers known so far was found a few years ago in a grave in Turfan, north-west China. It is 3,200 years old and belonged to a horseman – as can be deduced from the harness and the typical weaponry of a horse archer that lay with the man in his grave.

Fully equipped man from Yanghai, Turfan, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China, 11th cent. BC (Photo: Museum Turfan)

The Silk Road Fashion project of the DAI’s Beijing branch subjected the trousers to detailed examination. The yarn turns out to have been spun from sheep’s wool and woven using three techniques (twill, kilim and rips) in the desired form and size. At the knee the twill is interrupted by a pattern zone in the taaniko weaving technique. This technique makes it possible to produce extensively patterned woven fabric without a complicated loom. This is the first evidence of the taaniko technique in central Asia from over 3,000 years ago.

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