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and painting it on the coffins and cartonnages. For this sign the Christian Egyptians substituted the Cross pure and simple. A remarkable proof of this is afforded by a portion of a mummy wrapping, on which the Cross is painted, which Sir H. Rider Haggard obtained near Asyût and presented to the British Museum in 1923 (B.M. 55056).


THE bandages with which the bodies of men and animals are wrapped were, until comparatively lately, believed to be made of cotton. In 1646 Greaves stated in his Pyramidographia that the "ribbands, by what I observed, were of linen, which was the habit also of the Egyptian priests," and he adds, "of these ribbands I have seen some so strong and perfect as if they had been made but. yesterday." Rouelle, in the Mémoires de l'Académie R. des Sciences for 1750, asserted that every piece of mummy cloth that he had seen was made of cotton, and Forster1 and Solander, Larcher and Maty, Blumenbach3 and others accepted this opinion. Jomard thought that both cotton and linen were used for bandages of mummies; Granville, in the Philosophical Transactions for 1825, p. 274, also embraced this view. The question was finally settled by Mr. Thomson, who after a 12 years' study of the subject proved in the Philosophical Magazine (IIIrd Series, Vol. V, No. 29, Nov., 1834) that the bandages were invariably made of linen. He obtained for his researches about four hundred specimens of mummy cloth, and employed Mr. Bauer of Kew to examine them with his microscopes. "The ultimate fibre of cotton is a transparent tube without joints, flattened so that its inward surfaces are in contact along its axis, and also twisted spirally round its axis: that of flax is a transparent tube jointed like a cane, and not flattened nor spirally twisted."5 The coarse linen of the Egyptians was made of thick flax, and was used for making towels, awnings and sailcloth; the fine linen, 'Olóvn, is thought by some to be the equivalent of the DN of Proverbs vii, 16. The Greek Evdó v Heb. 1, was used to denote any linen cloth, and sometimes cotton cloth; but the ovdóvos Вvooívns with which mummies, according to Herodotus (II, 86), were bandaged, is certainly linen. The Egyptian word usually translated by "byssus” is shens, Coptic agenc; ordinary words for linen are


1 De Bysso Antiquorum, London, 1776, pp. 70, 71.

2 Hérodote, Paris, 1802, p. 357.

3 Beiträge, Göttingen, 1811, pt. 2, p. 73.

• Description de l'Égypte; Mémoires sur les Hypogées, p. 35.

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5 See Yates, Textrinum Antiquorum, London, 1843, p. 262, where the

whole subject is carefully discussed.

• Comp. De pa, Ezekiel xxvii, 7.

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(Rosetta Stone, 1. 17). One piece of linen of very fine texture obtained at Thebes had 152 threads in the warp, and 71 in the woof, to each inch, and a second piece described by Wilkinson (Ancient Egyptians, III, 165) had 540 threads in the warp, and 110 in the woof. One of the cities in Egypt most famous for its linen industry was 0 Apu, the Panopolis of the Greeks, the Beelee or cyee of the Copts, and Akhmîm of the Arabs; but as Egypt exported great quantities of this material, and also used immense quantities for bandages of mummies, it is certain that other cities also possessed large linen manufactories. The city of Tanis was the centre of the linen trade in Lower Egypt. Pelusium also had its linen manufactories, and the name of one special linen cloth that was woven there was that of the city itself, and has survived in the French word "blouse" (i.e., Pelouse, or Pelusium).3

The length and breadth of mummy bandages vary from about 3 feet by 2 inches, to 13 feet by 4 inches; some are made with fringe at both ends, like a scarf, and some have carefully made selvedges. Mummies of the IInd and IIIrd dynasties are wrapped in sheets of linen about 4 feet square. The pads that are laid between the limbs are made of pieces of linen from about 18 inches to 2 feet square. Under the XVIIIth dynasty linen sheets 9 feet to 12 feet square have been found. The saffron-coloured pieces of linen with which mummies are finally covered measure about 8 feet by 4 feet; the dye was obtained from the carthamus tinctoria. Usually two or three different kinds of linen are used in bandaging mummies. Mummy cloths are with very few exceptions quite plain, and it is only in the Greek times that the fine outer linen covering is decorated with figures of gods, etc., in gaudy colours. Several square pieces of linen in the museums of Europe are ornamented with blue stripes, and it is pretty certain that the threads that form them were dyed with indigo before they were woven into the piece. As far back as the time of Thothmes III it was customary to inscribe texts in the hieratic and hieroglyphic characters upon mummy cloths, and at that period large Vignettes accompany the Chapters

1 See also an interesting letter by De Fleury to M. Devéria on “Les Étoffes Égyptiennes in Rev. Arch., tom. XXI, Paris, 1870, pp. 217–221.



Πανῶν πόλις, λινουργῶν καὶ λιθουργῶν κατοικία παλαιά, Strabo, XVII, 1. 42. In the map published by Yates (Textrinum Antiquorum, p. 250) to show the divisions of the ancient world in which sheep's-wool, goat's-hair, hemp, cotton, silk, beaver's wool, camel's-wool, camel's-hair and linen are found, the only other districts where linen was made besides Egypt are Colchis, Cinyps, and a district near the mouth of the Rhine.


3 Lumbroso, Recherches sur l'Économie Politique de l'Égypte, p. 108. This is on all fours with "muslin " from Mosul, damask from Damascus, "dimity" from Damietta, and calico" from Calicut.

from the Book of the Dead; after the XXVIth dynasty hieratic only appears to have been used for this purpose, and the bandages, which are rarely more than 4 inches wide, are frequently so coarse that the text is almost illegible. Badly drawn Vignettes, in outline, usually stand at the top of each column of writing. It is worthy of note that Egyptian ladies marked their linen with indelible ink ; see the fringed winding-sheet of Tcheḥuti-sat (B.M. 37105).

The cultivation of flax was a very important industry in Egypt, for the dead as well as the living had to be clothed, and there are many representations of its culture and treatment on the monuments.1 Examples of the "combs" with which the flax to be made into cloth was heckled, and of the spindles and whorls which the weavers used are to be seen in the British Museum (B.M. 18182, 41563). On some of the spindles portions of the linen threads still remain (B.M. 6119, 6477, etc.).

The marvellous skill that the Egyptians displayed in making linen did not die out with the fall of the native sovereigns of Egypt, and the Copts, or native Christians of that country, have carried on the industry with splendid success until the present day. Although they ceased to mummify their dead-for, in my opinion, the hope of the resurrection of the body given by Christianity practically killed the art of embalming-they continued to dress them in garments that are remarkable for the beauty of the designs and needlework with which they are decorated. A great "find" of fine examples of this work was made at Akhmîm, the ancient Panopolis, in 1886-87. The graves at Akhmîm are about 5 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 or by his tools, which were buried with him. The body was entirely covered with linen and laid upon a board, and thus dressed was then deposited in the earth. The chief ornaments found in the tombs at Akhmîm are: hair-pins and combs made of wood or bone; ear-rings 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 faïence beads; torques, or neck-rings, made of bronze; bracelets, open and closed, made of bronze, iron, glass and horn; fingerrings of bronze; and bronze belt buckles made in the form of a

1 See Newberry, Beni Ḥasan, Vol. I, pl. 29; Vol. II, pll. 4 and 13; Klebs, Reliefs, p. 53 f.

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.1 The most ancient and the greater number of the tombs that contained these belong to the IInd or IIIrd century after Christ, and the most recent to the VIIIth or IXth century;2 they are taken from bodies of Christians and heathen which were buried with or without coffins, and 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,3 the Director of the National Manufactory at Gobelins, to belong to a period subsequent to the VIIIth 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 1062 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

1 I owe these details to Forrer, Die Gräber und Textilfunde 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 Akhmîm.

2 According to Forrer (p. 26), the foundation of the cemetery at Akhmîm may be dated in the Ist or IInd century after Christ, and the decay of the art of the best kind is to be sought at the end of the VIIth or in the course of the VIIIth century after Christ.

3 Les Tapisseries Coptes, Paris, 1890, p. 2. This most interesting work contains 153 reproductions in one or more colours of the most important designs found on Akhmîm linen.

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