A team of archaeologists discovered a pair of 3,000-year-old trousers at the ancient Yanghai burial site in China in May 2014. The trousers were discovered in the grave of a warrior horseman who was believed to have died between 1000 and 1200 BCE, according to authorities. For the last eight years, researchers from several nations examined the pants for their durability, design, and fabric-related qualities.
Archaeologists have developed a replica of the prehistoric era pants with the assistance of some clothing experts, scientists, and weavers. This modern replica has revealed various design secrets, weaving techniques, and cultural influences that influenced the creation of the original pants. Interestingly, the pants share similarities with modern-day denim jeans and horserider clothing.
The garment was discovered near a Chinese city named Turfan, so researchers call the buried warrior horserider - Turfan man. Historical records suggest that the rough and tough pants of the Turfan Man are among the oldest garments ever used.
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What makes the Turfan Mans pants a great outfit choice?
The replica, despite being 3,000 years old, highlights that the pants were able to enthuse many modern-day designers. They were woven in twill, a diagonally ribbed fabric currently seen in jeans, jackets, furniture covering, and other fabrics. Twill weaving provided strong and stretchable trousers, so the Trufan Man should not worry about ripping his pants while fighting or riding his horse.
The pants were large at the top and consisted of a crotch piece at the center, thus the horserider didn''t feel anxious during long journeys. Additionally, the weavers kept an eye on the fact that if a rider falls from his horse, he is most likely to die.
This approach was fashioned by tapestry weaving in the knee area, which consisted of weaving weft-threads and warp threads in an irregular sequence. The weavers allowed the fabric to remain stable and thicker near the knees.
The waist area used a third weaving technique to tighten the waist borders so that the pants perfectly fit the warrior. Whats more surprising is that the pants were designed using multiple weaving techniques, but they didn''t have any joints and cuts.
In 2017, Karina Gromer, a textile expert at the Vienna Natural History Museum, analysed the Yanghai pants. Surprised by the quality standards and top-notch weaving practices of the ancient weavers, she said, this is not a beginner item, it''s like the Rolls-Royce of trousers.
Yanghai pants represent a wide range of cultures.
The pants were constructed entirely from a single cloth piece, and they were both flexible, stylish, and spacious. Besides, they included zig-zag stripes, interlocking T-hook designs, and patterns inspired by the pyramids.
These photographs and patterns indicate that Asian weavers must have come in contact with people from distant regions such as Mesopotamia, Kazakhstan, and Siberia (where such textile designs are believed to have originated or been discovered in the first place). For example, a T-lock pattern was previously discovered on pottery items discovered at a 3,800-year-old burial site in Siberia.
According to senior researcher Mayke Wagner, a wide range of local origins, traditions, and times combined into something new in this garment in an interview with ScienceNews.
On an ancient trade route referred to as the Silk Road that connects China and Europe, the Yanghai burial site is believed to be located. According to the research, the multi-cultural patterns on the pants can be seen as a demonstration of how ideas and cultural practices were shared between different people via the Silk Road.
Michael Frachetti, an Anthropologist at Washington University in St. Louis, believes that the 3,000-year-old Yanghai pants can be an entry point for understanding Silk Road''s role in shaping the ancient world.
This study is now available in Asia''s journal for archaeological research.