The veil of Sainte Anne

veilofstanne This textile is known as the veil of Sainte Anne, which is kept in the basilica of Sainte Anne in Apt, France. The legend had it that the veil was found in a vault under the basilica.

However, it is a textile that originated from Damietta in Fatimid Egypt, in the 11th century C.E. It is 310 cm wide and 152 cm high, made from linen with tapestry woven roundels of animals, mythical animals, plants and tiraz.
veilofsaintannedetail
It is now thought to have been plunder of the 1st Crusade, although the first mention of it in the records in Apt is 1714. It is very well preserved, as it is mostly stored in a glass flask unless it is the Sainte Anne´s feast day. The selvages are on both sides of the fabric, so was woven with the width of 310 cm. It has three tapestry woven designs, made from silk and gold thread. The large roundel reads-

Alī is the friend of God; may God bless him. Imam Abu-l-Qāsim al-Musta’lī billah, emir of the Believers, may God bless him, his pure-hearted ancestors and his very worthy descendants

The tiraz on the sides reads-

This is what was made in the private weaving factory at Damietta in the year ….9

which isolates the date to either 1096 or 1097 C.E.

The textile is thought to be a back of a khila´ or ceremonial gifted robe known as an ‘abā which is a sleeveless coat.

Recommended reading
Writing Signs: The Fatimid Public Text by Irene A. Bierman. Via Google Books.

The veil of Saint Anne by H. A. Elsberg and R. Guest. The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, Vol. 68, No. 396 (Mar., 1936), pp. 140+144-145+147. Via JStor.

Symbols of Power by Louise Mackie. Via Google Books.

Qantara: Veil of Saint Anne.

Three Coptic tunics and a hat

coptnecklinetextilemeseum This textile is 64 cm long and 114 cm wide. It is made of plain woven linen with wool tapestry weave inserts. It was made by Coptic Egyptians between the 9th and 12th centuries C.E. It is currently in the Textile Museum of Canada. There is a zoom view available on the page.

coptictunic1textilemuseum This textile is 105 cm long and 122 cm wide. It is wool, with tapestry woven inserts of bird decorations and thought to have been made between the 6th and 7th centuries. The bottoms of the tunic is fringed. The tunic is in the Textile Museum of Canada. The tunic has a zoom view available on the page.

coptictunic2textilemueum This tunic is 76.7 cm long and 112.3 cm wide. It is made of plain woven linen, with wool tapestry woven inserts and appliqué. It was thought to have been made between the 7th and 9th centuries. The tunic is currently in the Textile Museum of Canada. There is a zoom view available on the page.

coptichattextilemuseum This hat is 13.3 cm long and 16.6 cm wide with a circumference of 44.5 cm at the bottom of the hat. It is made of plain woven linen between the 5th and 9th centuries. The bottom was thought to have ear flaps. It is currently in the Textile Museum of Canada. There is a zoom view of the hat on the page.

Some Coptic shawls

shawl3rd4thcentshawldetail3rd4thcent This shawl is from between the 3rd and 4th century C.E. The Egyptian shawl is plain weave linen, with a tapestry weave decoration sewn on. The size of the shawl is 70 cm by 45 cm. It is currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

browncopticshawl8th9thcent This shawl has been tapestry woven with wool and linen between the 8th and 9th century. It is 21.9 cm by 33 cm. It is also has Coptic script on it, as opposed to tiraz bands with Arabic. It is currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

darkcopticshawl8th9thcent Also made between the 8th and 9th century, this particular shawl is wool, tapestry woven with linen decorations. There is also Coptic script. It is 33 cm high by 79.4 cm wide. It is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

copticshawl9th10thcent This shawl is much like the others- wool and linen tapestry woven with Coptic script. However by this stage there were also Arabic tiraz becoming the fashion from the Abbasid and Fatimid Empires. The shawl is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A 10th century Egyptian textile

6thcentredband This textile is linen with a red woolen tapestry woven band (dyed with madder) with linen detail. The band has designs of hearts with a goat or a Sagittary in the middle. The dimensions are 30.5 cm by 31.5 cm. The item is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. redbanddetail6thcent This is the detail of the tapestry band. The Museum’s page says the textile is a sleeve remnant. However, the reverse of the textile is unusual- reverseredband6thcent This fringing is more expected in a shawl. The reverse details- redbandreverse6thcent Please let me know what you think the textile could be.

5th century Coptic tunic

This tunic is thought to have been made in the 5th century, in Egypt. The tunic is made of linen (in plain weave), with wool woven in tapestry woven designs. Neckline detail The tunic is 183 cm high by 135 cm wide. Shoulder detail. Possibly dancers? The tunic is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For more details on Coptic tunics, see previous post Coptic embroidery and garb.

Early period Coptic items

This is a Coptic statue, thought to have been made between 600-700 C.E. It is 115cm tall and 49 cm wide. It is currently in the Carmentis On-line Museum. This textile was made earlier than the statue, possibly around 500 C.E. It is 27.5 cm by 17.2cm but there is very little information on the website. It is also in the Carmentis On-line Museum. This textile is 5th century but there is also very little information on the Carmentis On-line Museum. This textile is obviously tapestry woven, possibly using these- (also in the Carmentis On-line Museum) and this- which is another 5th century item- a wooden spindle. Also in the Carmentis On-line Museum.

Coptic children’s garb


The ground fabric is likely to be linen, with embroidered foliate design in red, green and yellow surrounded by dark blue (possibly indigo?) and white embroidered bands. The neckline and sleeves are embroidered with red and white bands. The only dimensions mentioned is a height of 38 cm. Taken from Christie’s, where it was sold for £3,525 or $5,104. There is not much more information on the item, such as the thread used in the embroidery, other than it is from the 6th century.
This tunic is from the 5th or 6th century. While the ground fabric is not mentioned, it is probably linen, but this tunic had purple embroidered band on the front with cream stripes down the sides of the tunic and sleeves. The hood is embroidered with lions in roundels, the shoulders have stylised plant embroidery and the back of the tunic is embroidered with birds along the hem (unable to be seen). The dimensions are 86 x 69 cm. Taken from Christie’s where it sold for £28,200 (or $44,697). No other information is mentioned.
These salwar are of fine linen, with belt loops and open at the lower leg, to tie onto the ankle. The salwar are 84 cm high. The sandals are of leather, with the soles perforated with stitching holes. Only some of the straps are still attached and 22 cm long. Thought to have been made between the 5th-7th century. Taken from Christie’s, where it was sold for £12,500 ($25,588).
This is a polychrome wool cowl, 5th-6th century. It is 23cm high, with horizontal and vertical bands of stripes, zigzags, dots and diamond motif pattern. Taken from Christie’s.
This wool cowl is also 5th-6th century, 29.3 cm high and with a red herringbone pattern with green and red chequered borders and cords. Taken from Christie’s.
This fringed shawl is 7th-9th century, made from linen embroidered with wool. The wool is in repeating patterns of small buds and flowers in red, green and yellow with stylised leaves or roundels in the lozenge-shaped spaces. It is 112 x 94 cm. Taken from Christie’s where it sold for £4,935 ($8,390).