Dating ancient textiles

For over forty years, owner William Siegal has been assembling the world’s largest collection of fine ancient and antique Andean textiles dating from 750 BC to the 19th Century.

This superlative showcase of ancient works represents the diverse and eclectic nature of cultures from around the world separated both by geography and time.

Flax (linen), which was used almost exclusively until the Greek period was very difficult to dye, but in contrast, wool allowed colors to be applied that have lasted into our own time.

There also evolved silk garments with shimmering colors that obviously had their origins in the east, consisting of caftans, leggings and tunics, for example.

As in the pharaonic period, Coptic fabrics remained well known for a long time and even in distant lands.

This fashion disappeared during the Late Pharaonic Period only to reappear during Roman times, with the spread of the use of wool.

Tabby weave is the simplest form of weaving, consisting of horizontal threads (weft) interweaving with vertical threads (warp).

Soumak had the effect of making distinct outlines of the designs.

These fashions spread throughout the whole of the Mediterranean basin, as one can examine in mosaics (Piazza Armerina, Sicily) and paintings in the Roman catacombs.

However, thanks to the dry climate and sandy subsoil, these fabrics have mostly only survived to our own time in an unrivalled state of preservation in Egypt.

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