Textiles in Egypt
Egyptian textiles during the Dynastic Era (3100 BCE–300 BCE) were almost exclusively linen, although wool was not unknown. (Cotton and silk were introduced only later.) Linen was produced in three basic grades: royal linen, thin cloth, and smooth cloth. Production of royal linen, the highest grade, was a palace monopoly. Its manufacture took place both in the royal palace and in workshops associated with state temples. These workshops were supervised from the royal harem and were obligated to provide specific amounts of linen annually for use of the royal household and in temple rituals.
The Egyptians did not ordinarily color their linen because most of the dyes known to them were not colorfast. When one desired to dye either a piece of linen cloth or the thread used in embroidery, it was generally necessary to treat the fabric first with a mordant (one of several substances, such as alum, that would adhere to the fibers of the linen and allow the chemical bonding of the dyestuff) then...
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