Shown below, from Miriam’s blog, are three lovely,well-preserved Coptic tunics and a hat. These items, as similarly well-preserved clothing pieces, have generally been found in Coptic cemeteries in the Nile valley. Arid conditions and sealed tombs over many centuries are responsible for the amazingly vibrant colors and retained shapes of the garments.
However, so many of these finds have been looted and sold on through dealers with little information regarding their provenance and often with the pieces having been cut in ways thought to enhance their salability.
ebay.com seems to be one of the greatest contemporary purveyor of unprovenanced and anonymous finds. For example, the following piece of a Coptic textile that has clearly been trimmed from the full piece and is currently for sale on eBay:
Happily, this is not the case with clothing items on Miriam’s blog, for she treats items that are found in museums and provides interesting information about the pieces.
On the looting and sales of antiquities from Egypt, I will be writing more on this important topic. In the meantime, do enjoy Miriam’s blog!
* * * * *Post Script: Many years ago I visited the small town of Akhmim in southern Egypt, which has been the site of Coptic textile work for centuries. Most interesting and I wonder what has become of these families and their businesses. Their work was so outstanding.
This textile is 64 cm long and 114 cm wide. It is made of plain woven linen with wool tapestry weave inserts. It was made by Coptic Egyptians between the 9th and 12th centuries C.E. It is currently in the Textile Museum of Canada. There is a zoom view available on the page.
This textile is 105 cm long and 122 cm wide. It is wool, with tapestry woven inserts of bird decorations and thought to have been made between the 6th and 7th centuries. The bottoms of the tunic is fringed. The tunic is in the Textile Museum of Canada. The tunic has a zoom view available on the page.
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