Ancient Egyptian Coptic Textiles

The dry conditions of Egypt helped preserve these delicate fabrics. What Is Coptic? The modern term “Copt” derives from a corruption of the ancient Greek aigyptos via Arabic qibt, meaning “Egyptian.” This is a reference to native Egyptians as opposed to Greek and Roman settlers. The Coptic period (or Byzantine period) began with the division[…]

The Skill of Inca Weavers in Their Textiles

By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction For the Incas finely worked and highly decorative textiles came to symbolize both wealth and status, fine cloth could be used as both a tax and currency, and the very best textiles became amongst the most prized of all possessions, even more precious than gold or silver. Inca weavers were technically[…]

Stopping Time to Study History: The Art of Textile Conservation

It has fallen on textile conservators to keep historic textiles preserved, and a surprising amount of science aids them in this quest. Introduction In one of the lower-level exhibition rooms of the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston is a large red and blue mantle from Peru made of camelid wool. Stylized faces embroidered in yellow,[…]

Inka Textile Fabrication in the All-T’oqapu Tunic

The All-T’oqapu Tunic is an example of the height of Andean textile fabrication and its centrality to Inka expressions of power. Introduction The Inka were masters of statecraft, forging an empire that at its height extended from modern Quito, Ecuador to Santiago, Chile. One of the engines that drove the empire was the exchange of[…]

The Paracas Textile of Ancient Peru

Despite the textile’s small size, it contains a vast amount of information about the people who lived in ancient Peru. By Lois Martin Mummy Bundles One of the most extraordinary masterpieces of the pre-Columbian Americas is a nearly 2,000-year-old cloth from the South Coast of Peru, which has been in the collection of the Brooklyn[…]