CAIRO – 14 July 2020: Archaeologist Ahmed Amer said there were many types of fabrics used in Egypt during the ancient times. That is because of its importance in the economic, social and religious aspects of life during ancient Egypt.
Amer added in press statements that flax is one of the oldest plants that were grown in ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptians paid great attention to flax and even reached the point of sanctification.
We have linen tissues of various types, including the "IFD" linen, which was defined by the "Berlin Dictionary" as a "linen fabric" that has appeared since the era of the Old Kingdom until the era of the New Kingdom.
Some scholars have suggested that it is a type of linen woven with four threads. This is based on its name, which is derived from the number "4" which took the same pronunciation.
This fabric has been used as an offering since the ancient state. It was also used in the afterlife according to what was stated in the "Book of the Dead"; that it was used as a mattress on the offering tables in the other world.
Ancient Egyptians also used the “INSY” red linen fabric, which was manufactured in places attached to temples and also had a significance in the afterlife.
The ancient Egyptian deity Xmt-Bastt-Ra was associated with the red linen fabric and even bore the title "Lady of Red Linen". This fabric was also associated with the deities Neith, Sekhmet, and Ra.
Amer indicated that linen was used in making and sweetening the tops of the flagpole called "PGA", according to what was stated in a speech from the Ramesside era talking about one of the trips that the king intended to take and the trip’s preparations, including flagpoles made of red "INSY", as it was used as bags and in the work of “SSD” funeral headbands. It was also used as wraps for mummies, as a sacred robe, and as an offering to the deities. In addition, that specific fabric had a great significance in works of magic, as was mentioned in one of the spells in "The Book of the Dead”.
As for the linen fabric called "IRTYW", which is blue in color, it has appeared since the Old Kingdom. Its religious importance exceeded its worldly importance. One of its most important uses was that it was used as an offering to certain individuals.
Another type of flax of linen fabric that was known since the First Dynasty was the "IDMY" linen fabric, which was famous for its red color. Three cities have been famous for making this textile: Saies, Ihnasia [Het-Nesut], and Harbit. The red fabric was strongly associated to the dieties Tayt, Ra and Horus.
The role of the red fabric in economic life was represented as wages for workers, as stated in many tomb texts that the tomb owner distributed it to his workers as rewards.
Amer continued that this type of fabric was specifically used for funerary purposes as wraps and straps for mummies. Similarly, it was offered as an offering in the temples, as we find in the Anubis booth in Deir el-Bahari and in Luxor Temple.
This fabric was at the forefront of the materials needed by the deceased in cemeteries and the afterlife. It was also considered as the dress of the righteous or the elite of qualified human beings idolized in the afterlife. It was also used in the robes of some religious ceremonies, and in the magic rituals performed for the deceased.
Moreover it has been used as a garment for deities in daily service rituals and the linen fabric called "AAT" is known for its tenderness. It has been used since the Second Dynasty and was one of the most luxurious types of linen.