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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

130   Mechanical and Technical Processes. Materials
the progress of the technique of this craft would be prema-
ture.
Hides were used for garments in the earliest predynastic
(Merimda) period, and tanning seems to have been practised
almost, if not quite, as early. Apart from articles of household
use—sandals, bags, braces, chairs, seats, tents, &c.—leather was
used for binding blades of axes and adzes on to their hafts and
for the tyres of chariots, those on the miniature chariot of
Sitamun being still in perfect condition. The largest leather
object known is the tent of Isimkheb, composed of squares of
fine leather painted alternately red and green. Applique work
in colours was practised, and leather cut into fine network. It
was also used for armour, the narrow overlapping scales of
the remains of Tut'ankhamun's corslet being specially remark-
able (Fig. 8). Leather was also used as a material to write upon.
In the tomb of Rakhmire', of the Eighteenth Dynasty, it is
stated that the laws were written on forty rolls of leather.
Weaving dates from the predynastic period and is depicted
on tomb walls as early as the Twelfth Dynasty The material
employed for weaving was almost exclusively flax. The thread
was spun by hand on small spindles just as it is in Egypt
to-day, and the looms were of the simplest type (Fig. 9); in
spite of this the women, even at an early period, succeeded in
weaving cloth of admirable fineness. Tapestry weaving is
known from the time of Tuthmosis IV, and many examples of
this art are seen in the robes and gauntlets of Tut'ankhamun.
Wool was rarely used in Egypt until Christian times; cotton,
originating in India, and silk from China do not appear until
Graeco-Roman times.
Pottery is first found in the Merimda civilization. Here the
pots are coarse-surfaced and made without a wheel. With
the Badarian civilization comes a great advance, the surfaces of
the better specimens being red with a smooth polish, and often
decorated with very fine ripples. The thinness of the pots is