A Name of a Workshop on a Piece of Textile: the case of the document A.L.18

Anne Regourd, Fiona Handley

Research output: Other contribution


The Arabisch Leinwand collection is held in the Papyrus department of the Austrian National Library, Vienna. The collection was brought from Egypt at the end of the 19th century and consists of 68 items, all associated with writing, including several items itemswith a stamped or embroidered qalām. One of these is A.L. 18, a fragment 6.8 by7.6cm. It is a linen tabby with a thread count of 30 threads per cm in both warp and weft, with an 's' spin direction.Theṭirāzis in brown silk in rough stem stitches. Its text can be reconstructed through reference to the relevant formulas. Unfortunately, the part where the name of the Caliph usually appears is destroyed. However, the name of the workshop where this piece was produced is still extant, i.e. Shaṭā,‫شطا, animportant centre for textile production, located in the Nile Delta, close to Damietta.Shaṭā's activityin textile production was recorded by al-Maqrīzī (m. 1442), the famous Egyptian historian, and other pieces produced atShaṭā survive in collections, mainly dating from the 4th/10thc.Our first goal will be to date A.L.18 through cross referencing the Arabic sources about Shaṭā's textile production with the published data on the textiles in collections. Further to this,the inscription refers to a "private textile workshop," which contributes to our knowledge of the status of Shaṭā'sworkshop. Thus our second goal will be to investigate textile activity atShaṭā, as it is not one of the five major and well knownṭirāzcentres in Fāṭimid Egypt.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherThe Danish National Research Foundation's Centre for Textile Research, SAXO Institute
Place of PublicationUniversity of Copenhagen, Denmark
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2014


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