A fragment of silk textile excavated at Essouk-Tadmekka (3.75 x 2.25 cm). Institut des sciences humaines, Bamako, Mali. Photograph by Clare Britt

The shape of this fragment suggests that it once formed part of the rim of a bowl. The distinctive damask weave of a small piece of silk, also excavated at Essouk-Tadmekka, proves that it was likewise made by Chinese artisans, though the chain-stitch embroidery in red cotton that runs across it was likely added in Tadmekka as further embellishment to a luxury garment.