created by: lubiz (Mar 25, 2011)
last modified by: lubiz (May 25, 2011)
theme complex
Craftsmanship
theme
Linen production
tomb owner
Ankhtifi
necropolis
el-Moalla
date
9th Dynasty
location
execution
painting
position
Main chamber, 4th (west) side of the pillar XIII.
theme description
In the First Intermediate Period and Middle Kingdom, decoration programmes of official´s tombs started to represent the activities that preceded the delivery of cloth, namely the linen production. The theme, not attested in the Old Kingdom, encompasses several scenes, due to the complexity of the process, namely processing of flax, spinning, preparation of the warp threads, preparation of the loom and weaving on a ground loom.
First of all, the flax has been scutched by pulling the stalks in between two sticks to disrupt the adhesiveness of the fibres After combing the fibres apart with fingers they were spliced together, i.e. the ends of fibres were rolled on the thigh to give them a temporary twist and the thread produced in that way was rolled into a ball or a coil. Obviously the fibres were sometimes moistened with saliva to make them more coherent. For processing of flax see: Barber, E.J.W., Prehistoric Textiles, pp. 45 – 47; Vogelsang-Eastwood, G., The Production of linen in pharaonic Egypt, pp. 11 – 13; Vogelsang-Eastwood, G., Textiles, in: Nicholson and Shaw, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, pp. 271 – 272; Kemp, B.J. and Vogelsang-Eastwood, G., The ancient textile industry at Amarna, pp. 70 – 73.
Subsequently the thread was spun by means of drop spinning. The method of drop spinning requires from the spinner to stand. She draws a thread from a ball of spliced fibres lying on the ground and in her other hand she holds the spindle, rolls it on her right thigh and then allows it to drop. The drop causes a rotation of the spindle, through which the thread receives its twist and can be afterwards wound on the spindle (see: Vogelsang-Eastwood, G., The Production of linen in pharaonic Egypt, pp. 16 – 17; Vogelsang-Eastwood, G., Textiles, in: Nicholson and Shaw, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, pp. 271 – 274). In the scenes women are often shown spinning two threads simultaneously. Another depicted method is that of plying (spinning together) two threads into one by means of drop spinning in order to produce a heavier thread (see: Barber, E.J.W., Prehistoric Textiles, p. 48).
After the threads have been produced it was necessary to prepare the warp. It was done by winding the thread around three pegs that were driven into the wall or around two pairs of uprights or by pulling the threads simultaneously from twelve balls using a special frame (see: Barber, E.J.W., Prehistoric Textiles, pp. 89 – 90; Vogelsang-Eastwood, G., Textiles, in: Nicholson and Shaw, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, p. 274; Kemp, B.J. and Vogelsang-Eastwood, G., The ancient textile industry at Amarna, pp. 314 – 324). Afterwards, the warp was transferred to the loom, spread and arranged.
Finally, the textile was woven (for the weaving process see: Vogelsang-Eastwood, G., Textiles, in: Nicholson and Shaw, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, pp. 274 – 276; Vogelsang-Eastwood, G., The Production of linen in pharaonic Egypt, pp. 26 – 28). The scenes of the Middle Kingdom always represent the so called horizontal or ground loom (see: Kemp, B.J. and Vogelsang-Eastwood, G., The ancient textile industry at Amarna, pp. 324 – 333).
details
Craftsmanship
Linen production (theme)
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