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Re: [Authentic_SCA] Coptic Garb

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  • lilinah@earthlink.net
    ... Some men also wore belted floor length tunics, too, in more formal situations. ... When you look at surviving tunics, note that the circles/roundels at the
    Message 1 of 11 , Mar 31, 2006
      "arhylda" <arhylda@...> wrote:
      >As for the tunics, the evidence I have seen is that women and men
      >wear the same style of
      >tunic, with women wearing it to the floor and men to the knee. Women
      >are typically shown
      >with a belt just under the bust while men seem to wear it at the waist.

      Some men also wore belted floor length tunics, too, in more formal situations.

      >Just remember that most of the Coptic tunics we have were really
      >full - not tight-fitted to
      >the body. Loose and belted (perfect for Pennsic!).

      When you look at surviving tunics, note that the circles/roundels at
      the top fall on the upper arm, not at the shoulder - although when
      they're laid out flat in a museum exhibit it looks as if the circles
      would be on the shoulders. It's the clavi (vertical stripes) that are
      almost at the shoulder line. When they have sleeves, the body of the
      tunic is often so wide that the sleeves begin just above the elbow.

      The linen tunics are white, with tapestry decorations woven in (the
      whole tunic was woven at once, not cut out of yardage) in wool -
      often dark purple (indigo overdyed madder) - but sometimes in bright
      colors. Romans wore brightly dyed woolen tunics of similar style and
      i expect that Egyptians and Byzantines did too. And for the wealthy,
      tunics of the same shape in silk...
      Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
      the persona formerly known as Anahita
    • lilinah@earthlink.net
      Sorry this is so late... ... That makes sense, since the three are related. ... Not silly at all. Late Antique period Egyptian sprang is incredibly cool! ...
      Message 2 of 11 , Apr 20, 2006
        Sorry this is so late...

        "Alexis Abarria" <a_abarria@...> wrote:
        >Am trying to find info on female Coptic Garb. I can find *lots* of info on
        >the roundels and tapestry woven stuff. Seems unlikely that both men and
        >women were wearing the same style of tunic/caftan, but am having difficulty
        >finding gender related info. Am focusing on 4-8th C AD just to narrow it
        >down a bit. Any good sources? I have looked at Byzantium and Roman garb.

        That makes sense, since the three are related.

        >I know it sounds silly, but I want some garb to go w/ my sprang.

        Not silly at all. Late Antique period Egyptian sprang is incredibly cool!

        >Cassandra of Glastonbury

        Actually, in terms of garments, men and women dressed fairly
        similarly. Byzantine information will tell you a lot, since prior to
        the late 7th century, the Byzantines had a lot of influence in Egypt.

        Naturally you've found some clear differences, such as some men
        wearing garments much shorter than women's some of the time. But in
        formal situations, men wore long tunics, too.

        After the late 7th century, Egypt was under Muslim Arab domination.
        There was a gradual change in clothing over about 100 years in Egypt,
        as the so-called "Coptic" style of garment - woven in one piece with
        the decorations tapestry woven in - gave way to garments made of
        pieces cut from a rectangular length of cloth and sewn together.

        I'd say 8th century is getting a bit late for so-called "Coptic"
        period garments - by that time garments are already showing Islamic
        influence. But you are likely to find some "Coptic" garments from
        prior to the 4th century as well.

        "kelyn_of_broceliande" <kelyn_of_broceliande@...>
        >Thank you, thank you, thank you for this link! Actual pictures... I
        >haev been trying to find pictures of the real thing forever. (And
        >they mention cotton! I always wondered why so many people say "Cotton
        >is NEVER period."

        ...because most people are speaking from a European perspective and
        cotton was not widely used in Europe until the 17th century. (for
        fans of cotton use in Europe, note i'm not saying it wasn't used,
        just that it had limited use, which i think cannot be denied)

        Cotton functions much like linen: it's hard to dye, so it's basically
        white, therefore useful for underwear and anything that the culture
        would prefer white. Yet as an import cotton as an expensive luxury
        cloth. Other than in areas with easy trade, or where cotton was
        actually being grown, why spend a lot of money for cotton when linen
        is cheaper and better.

        So European use was chiefly in areas that grew cotton or had
        extensive trade with the Muslim world - particularly Spain and Italy.
        By the 16th century there was some cotton production or production of
        fabrics of cotton mixed with other fibers outside Spain and Italy.

        >Well, yes, it wouldn't be used up in England, but
        >surely anything that came from Egypt would be possible to get in any
        >country along the Mediterranean...)

        That would depend on trade. By the 10th-12th centuries there was much
        trade between Arabic countries and Italy and Spain, so there is
        evidence of use of cotton in certain places in certain time periods
        when trade was going on.

        But use of cotton in the Near and Middle East wasn't universal.

        Nearly all the "Coptic" garments i am familiar with are of white
        linen with tapestry woven wool decoration. There is also evidence for
        imported silk. Cotton was not imported into Egypt with any regularity
        as early as the so-called "Coptic" period, which ends with the Muslim
        invasion in the late 7th century. Claims that some mummy wrappings
        were cotton have been discredited.

        Cotton was then imported into the Arabic world from India for
        centuries before Arabs began growing it. At the time of the Coptic
        garments, cotton was not being grown in Egypt. It was being imported
        into Egypt from India.

        Note that modern "Egyptian cotton" is a hybrid that was developed at
        the end of the 19th century, cross bred between New World and Old
        World cottons.

        But even in the early Muslim period, cotton was rare and expensive.
        As late as the 9th and 10th centuries cotton was used for luxury
        fabrics.There are surviving ikat dyed cotton cloths thought to be
        turban cloths with one end gold leafed and inscribed with black ink
        (i.e., Tiraz). They were woven and dyed in the Yemen.

        This is often hard for us these days to grasp: cotton was luxury
        fabric for most of SCA period, while wool and linen were worn by the
        poor as well as the wealthy.

        It wasn't until a few centuries later that cotton was being grown in
        Syria. Gradually cotton cultivation spread to a few limited areas
        around the Mediterranean under Arab influence.

        The site on Byzantine clothing mention that cotton was used for
        garments - rarely - and was a luxury fabric. Bear in mind that
        Byzantium lasted until 1453, but the author of the site doesn't
        mention any dates for the use of cotton. Cotton was rare at the
        beginning of Byzantium and became more common as we approach the end
        of SCA-period. But it was clearly not commonly worn.

        Besides availability, another drawback to the use of cotton is the
        difficulty dyeing it. It's easy to dye with indigo, but dyeing it
        with anything else either involved a complex process (e.g., the
        "Turkey red" process for dyeing cotton with madder) or pretty close
        to impossible (using period methods, cotton will take most dyes
        lightly, but most of it will wash out).

        Since it behaved a lot like linen, but was much more expensive in
        Europe, it never achieved much popularity in Europe.

        By the 14th century, when the Mamluks were ruling, cotton was fairly
        common in Egypt, and worn by people in many levels of society. There
        are surviving garment fragments of plain white cotton and of "plaid"
        woven cotton in dark indigo, natural white, and madder-dyed dark
        brick red - some clothes were just dark indigo and dark brick red.

        The 14th century Bishop Timotheos whose burial yielded a range of
        garments. Among his garments was his tunic of natural white linen
        lined with natural white cotton.

        If you'd like to know more, i recommend the SCA Byzantine e-list:

        There's some great info in the Files section there, and plenty of
        knowledgeable people on the list.
        Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
        the persona formerly known as Anahita
      • Terri Morgan
        So I m coming home from watching V for Vendetta with my youngest, and there on the doorstep is a brown paper box. Is it? yes, yes, it is! Medieval Clothing
        Message 3 of 11 , Apr 21, 2006
          So I'm coming home from watching "V for Vendetta" with my youngest, and
          there on the doorstep is a brown paper box. Is it? yes, yes, it is!
          "Medieval Clothing and Textiles 2" !


          I aint a-gonna be online long. Just long enough to gloat a bit*.

          *Actually, for those who didn't know it was coming out, here's your head's
          up. Barnes and Noble has it.
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