Textiles in Egypt
Egyptian textiles during the Dynastic Era (3100 BCE–300 BCE) were primarily linen, although wool was not unknown. (Cotton and silk were introduced only later.) Linen was produced in three basic grades: royal or fine linen, thin cloth, and smooth cloth. Production of royal linen, the highest grade, was a palace monopoly. Its manufacture took place both in the royal palace and in workshops associated with state temples. These workshops were supervised from the royal harem and were obligated to provide specific amounts of linen annually for use in the royal household and in temple rituals. Presumably it was this highest grade of linen that was also used in international trade.
As is often the case, much of our knowledge of the processes for textile production, use, and care is derived from scenes portrayed in the funerary art of the social elite and tomb models showing textile workshops, coupled with the study of surviving textile examples (and Egypt’s dry climate has helped to preserve...
KeywordsFlax Fiber Spindle Shaft State Temple Royal Palace Warp Thread
- Forbes, R. J. (1964). Studies in ancient technology (Vol. IV). Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
- Hall, R. (1986). Egyptian textiles. Aylesbury: Shire.Google Scholar
- Ikram, S., & Dodson, A. (1998). The mummy in ancient Egypt: Equipping the dead for eternity. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press.Google Scholar
- Jones, J. (2008). Pre- and early dynastic textiles: Technology, specialization and administration during the process of state formation. In B. Midant-Reynes & Y. Tristant (Eds.), Egypt at its origins 2: Proceedings of the international conference “Origin of the state: Pre-dynastic and early dynastic Egypt” (pp. 99–132). Leeuven: Peeters.Google Scholar
- Vogelsang-Eastwood, G. (1992). Production of linen in pharaonic Egypt. Leiden: Textile Research Center.Google Scholar
- Vogelsang-Eastwood, G. (1993). Pharaonic Egyptian clothing. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar