Egyptian Textiles

Series: Shire Egyptology (4)
'She who was irch in fine lineen, who loved clothes, lies in the cast-off garment of yesterday.' So ends an ancient Egyptian funeral lament, and indeed these textiles have frequently become the neglected cast-off rags of today, lying undiscovered in museum basements. This book attempts to rectify the situation by assessing the archaeological importance of textiles, describing and illustrating recently 'rediscovered' garments, and translating little known related texts. A survey of the nature and quality of woven fabrics and dyeing processes is followed by a techanical description of spinning and weaving. Representations of costume on reliefs and statuary are viewed chronologically, and the often divergent extant garments are then described. A complete chapter is devoted to the wardrobes of Tutankhamun and other Pharaohs. The Egyptian laundry service is discussed: methods of washing and pleating, laundry lists and marks, and the washermen's complaints. Sewing and darning equipment and methods, with an inventory of embroidery stitches and dressmaking techniques, are described for the first time. A conclusion is reached on dress as a status symbol in ancient Egypt by a survey of garment prices and of all types of specific dress, or undress, from that vizier to prostitute.