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sovereigns of Egypt, and the Copts, or native Christians of that country, carried on the industry with splendid success until the twelfth century of our era. Although they ceased to mummify their dead, for the hope of the resurrection of the body given by Christianity practically killed the art of embalming, they continued to dress them in garments which are remarkable for the beauty of the embroidery and tapestries with which they are decorated. A great “find” of fine examples of this work was made at Akhmim, the ancient Panopolis, in 1884. The graves at Akhmim are about five feet deep, and are not indicated by any mound. The bodies appear to have been buried with natron sprinkled over them, for many of their garments are covered with crystals of this substance; and they appear also to have been buried with their best clothes on. The head was provided with a band or cap, and was sometimes supported on a pillow. The body wore a tunic, and the feet had stockings, sandals or shoes upon them; the head, breast, arms, and fingers were decorated with ornaments. The condition in life of the deceased was indicated by inscriptions on rectangular wooden tesserae (see p. 188), or by his tools, which were buried with him. The body was entirely covered over with linen and laid upon a board, and thus dressed was then deposited in the earth. The chief ornaments found in the tombs at Akhmim are: hair-pins and combs made of wood or bone; earrings of several shapes and forms made of glass; silver and bronze filigree work, gold with little gold balls, and iron with pendent agates; necklaces made of amber, coloured glass, and blue and green glazed fasence beads; torques, or neck-rings, made of bronze; bracelets, open and closed, made of bronze, iron, glass and horn; finger-rings of bronze; and bronze belt buckles made in the form of a Christian cross. A large number of ivory crosses are also found; the cross which is found so often on these objects was not used merely as an ornament, but as a special symbol and emblem of Christianity." The most ancient and the greater number of the tombs which
Discovery of Christian necropolis at Panopolis.
Ornaments found upon the bodies.
Age of the necropolis.
1 I owe these details to Forrer, Die Gräber und Textilsunde von Achmim. —Panopolis. Strassburg, 1891, pp. 12, 13. This book contains 16 plates on which are photographed, in colours, 250 pictures of the textile fabrics and the other most interesting objects found at Akhmim.
contained these belong to the second or third century after Christ,and the most recent to the eighth or ninth century;" they are taken from bodies of Christians and heathen which were buried with or without coffins, or in private or common burial places. The Museum of Gobelins possesses a piece of cloth, the threads of the woof of which are made of pure silk, and this is said by M. Gerspach,* the Director of the National Manufactory at Gobelins, to belong to a period subsequent to the eighth century, because silk does not appear in Egyptian tapestries until that century. It may then be considered that the Coptic linen work found at Akhmîm covers a period of eight centuries, viz., ii-ix. M. Gerspach adds, " Il est fort probable que les Coptes ont continué, pendant plusieurs siècles encore, une fabrication dans laquelle ils excellaient ; ils ont vraisemblablement travaillé à ces milliers de pièces représentant les grands hommes de l'Islam, montrant des villes, des paysages et des animaux que possédait le calif Mostansser-Billah et qui furent brûlées au Caire en Io62 avec les immenses richesses accumulées dans le Dépôt des étendards " (p. 2). Of the character, style, design, and antiquity of Coptic linen work he says, " Le style est plus ou moins pur, mais il dénote constamment une grande liberté de composition et de facture ; il est exempt de minuties et de subtilités, même lorsque nous ne comprenons pas très bien la pensée de l'artiste. Quand il ne se rattache pas à la décoration romaine ou à l'art oriental, il est original, il a un caractère propre, une saveur particulière, qu'il soit fin comme nos dentelles ou épais et obtus comme les ornements des races inférieures ; il constitue alors, dans une manifestation intime et populaire, un genre spécial qu'on nommera peut-être bientôt le style copte. A première vue, en effet, on retrouve l'antiquité dans les pièces les plus simples, qui sont aussi les plus anciennes ; en général, ces morceaux sont d'une seule couleur pourpre ou brune, avec des filets clairs en lin écru. Le dessin est sommaire, net, sobre, bien combiné, harmonieux, d'une grande franchise plastique, dans le style qu'adoptera ultérieurement l'art héraldique ; naturellement, dans la figure il est plus faible que dans l'ornement, car le tapissier, avec sa broche, ne trace pas aussi facilement que le céramiste avec son pinceau ; nous devons excuser les tapissiers Coptes, leurs successeurs de tous les temps et de tous les pays ayant comme eux fait plus ou moins de fautes de dessin . ... . Les tapisseries polychromes" sont généralement postérieures à cette première série, mais il importe de faire remarquer que certains modèles primitifs n'ont pas été abandonnés et qu'on les retrouve dans les tissus modernes du bas Danube et de l'Orient . .. .. Jusqu'ici* le dessin est clair et lisible ; maintenant nous arrivons à une suite inférieure ; les lignes se compliquent et les formes deviennent épaisses ; . ... .. l'ornement est encore dans un bon esprit, mais les figures sont faibles ... ... Avec les siècles suivants, nous tombons dans une décadence relative, moins profonde que celle de la mosaïque au IX° siècle ; le corps humain est contourné, strapassé ; les têtes sont bestiales ; les animaux sont difformes et fantastiques, pourvus de sortes de tentacules ; ils se transforment en ornements ; la flore n'est même plus ornemanisée ni conventionelle ; certains motifs sont incompréhensibles ; l'ornement, mieux tenu, présente toujours des combinaisons intéressantes ; .... même dans leurs fautes, les Coptes continuent à prouver qu'ils sont décorateurs."
* According to Forrer (p. 26), the foundation of the cemetery at Akhmîm may be dated in the first or second century after Christ, and the decay of the art of the best kind is to be sought at the end of the seventh or in the course of the eighth century after Christ.
* Les Tapisseries Coptes, Paris, 189o, p. 2. This most interesting work contains 153 reproductions in one or more colours of the most important designs sound on Akhmîm linen.
B. M. O
Gerspach on Coptic linen work and designs.
CANOPIC JARs OR VASES.
" Canopic jars " is the name given to the series of four jars in which the principal intestines of a deceased person were placed. They were thus named by the early Egyptologists, who believed that in them they saw some confirmation of the legend handed down by some ancient writers that Canopus, the pilot of Menelaus, who is said to have been buried at Canopus, in Egypt, was worshipped there under the forin of a jar with small feet, a thin neck, a swollen body, and
l Of the fourth century. * Fifth century.
a round back. Each jar was dedicated to one of the four genii of the underworld, who represented the cardinal points, and each jar was provided with a cover which was made in the shape of the head of the deity to whom it was dedicated. The names and characteristic heads of each are:-1. Mesthả The four
genii of or
2009 , dog-headed. 3. Tuamāutef jackal
4.4] Ilfo Qebħsennuf, hawk-headed.
headed. 4. A Mesthå represented the south, Hāpi the north, Țuamāutef the east, and Qebhsennuf the west. These four gods are, in some texts, said to be the children of Horus, and in others the children of Osiris. Each jar was hollowed out and received one of the larger intestines after it had been steeped in bitumen and wrapped up in bandages; the covers of the jars were then fastened on by plaster. Mr. Pettigrew examined the contents of one set of vases, and it was found that the vase dedicated to Mesthả contained the stomach and large intestines; that dedicated to Hāpi, the small intestines ; that dedicated to Țuamāutef, the lungs and heart; and that dedicated to Qebḥsennus, the liver and gall-bladder. Canopic jars Age of
Canopic first appear about the XVIIIth dynasty, and they continue in jars. use until the XXVIth dynasty, after which time the Egyptians appear to have been somewhat careless about them, and either to have preferred to bury the intestines inside the body or to! have forgotten the significance of their use. In the XVIIIth dynasty they are made of the most beautiful alabaster and arragonite, and fine calcareous stone ; in the XXVIth dynasty they are still made of these substances, but green and blue glazed faïence and wood also appear. Later they are made of terra-cotta, and the covers are all made in the same shape ; sometimes they have the shape of a vessel of the same diameter at the bottom as at the top, the gods being traced upon them, in outline, on the outside surface. Frequently the jars are made of wood, painted with bright colours, and sometimes solid wooden models only are found in the tombs, a fact which shows sometimes the poverty of the deceased, and sometimes probably the dishonesty of the funeral furnisher. When the intestines were not buried in jars they were returned to the
body, and figures of Mestha, Hāpi, Tuamāutef and Qebhsennuf made of wax, sheet silver, gold or porcelain, were laid upon the parts which these gods were supposed to protect. On the alabaster and stone jars the inscriptions were incised, and on wood and faïence they were painted or traced in outline in ink. In papyri of the XVIIIth and XIXth dynasties, the vignettes of the 17th chapter of the Book of the Dead show that Canopic jars were placed in a sepulchral chest, upon the sides of which were painted figures of the four gods, in the form of men, but each having its characteristic