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Coptic Tapestry Albums Nancy Arthur Hoskins[Buy This Book]

Pub Date:
February 2004

Paper: 0-295-98374-4

Paper: $55.00s

Subject Listing:
Textiles - Middle East Studies, Crafts, Textiles, Decorative Arts

Bibliographic information:
224 pp., 248 illus., 48 in color, bibliog., index, 8.5" x 11"

Distributed for:
Skein Publications

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The Coptic Tapestry Albums by Nancy Arthur Hoskins is a very technical analysis of two collections of textile pieces from the Coptic Period in ancient Egypt discovered by the archaeologist, Albert Gayet. The text reflects multiple languages, weaving diagrams, full color plates and exacting museum references.

Courtesy of the University of Washington Press:

The Coptic Tapestry Albums
and the Archaeologist of Antinoé, Albert Gayet

Nancy Arthur Hoskins

Vibrant tapestries of beribboned birds, cantering centaurs, and Dionysian dancers, woven in Coptic Egypt more than a thousand years ago, were artfully arranged in a handsome pair of albums in 1913. Some of the fabrics are shown in unique collage compositions. Sandals, spindles, and a mysterious lock of hair are assembled in a shallow box at the back of one album. Many textiles in this important collection, housed at the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington, were once joined by warp and weft with those from the Musée du Louvre and other major museums.

Nancy Hoskins deftly interweaves the creation of the textiles in the Greco-Roman city of Antinoé, Egypt, with their discovery by the charismatic French archaeologist Albert Gayet (1856-1916). Gayet staged stunning exhibitions of the pieces in Paris at the turn of the century and ultimately gave them to museums or sold them. One collector, Henry Bryon, had his 144 fabrics bound into the two albums featured here.

The album pages and covers are illustrated in glowing color, along with archival photographs from Gayet's expeditions. The style, structure, and iconography of each tapestry, tabby, and tablet-woven textile are discussed within the cultural construct of Late Antique and Early Christian Egypt. Detailed technical drawings illustrate the special weaving techniques of the Copts. Directions for six weaving projects inspired by the album fragments are included. The story of the inimitable Coptic tapestry albums will delight weavers, textile historians, art historians, and archaeologists.

Nancy Arthur Hoskins, a former college weaving instructor, researched Coptic collections in over fifty museums around the world. She is the author of Universal Stitches for Weaving, Embroidery, and Other Fiber Arts and Weft-Faced Pattern Weaves: Tabby to Taqueté.

Quotes: "Master weaver, scholarly detective, and sensitive connoisseur, Nancy Hoskins combines all these skills to describe and identify this unusually wide range of Egyptian Coptic textile fragments. Her descriptions of weaving techniques create a fundamental glossary of technical terms, which all who study textiles should use. The detailed data on each piece are a benchmark for all who work in the field."-Jere L. Bacharach, Director, American Research Center in Egypt

Table of Contents: Foreword
Part One
The Archaeologist of Antinoe, Albert Gayet
Part Two
The Antinoe Textiles: Fiber, Fabric, and Fashion
Part Three
The Text and Textile Albums
Connections and Conclusions

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