First Millennium Egyptian Textiles in the Carl Austin Rietz Collection
of the California Academy of Sciences
Diane Lee Carroll
While textiles rarely survive in the archaeological record, the dry desert tombs of Egypt have preserved large numbers from multiple eras. Yet despite a plethora of samples, the Coptic period of Egypt (the first millennium of the Christian era) is often overlooked in favor of the more studied periods of the ancient pharaohs and the Arab conquest.
In the mid-1900s, San Francisco Bay Area industrialist Carl Austin Rietz collected over 75 Coptic textile fragments, a collection which now resides at the California Academy of Sciences. In Looms and Textiles of the Copts, Diane Lee Carroll discusses the history, manufacturing techniques and motifs of Coptic-era textiles, using the Rietz collection as her study group.
Looms and Textiles of the Copts: First Millennium Egyptian Textiles in the Carl Austin Rietz Collection of the California Academy of Sciences was published as Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences, No. 11, San Francisco, California, 1988. 201 pages, 16 color plates, 98 black & white photographs. Soft cover. ISBN 0-295-96672-6.
I. The Coptic Weaver's Inheritance: Ancient Textile Technology
II. Coptic Textile Technology: The Literary and Archaeological Evidence
III. Coptic Textile Design: The Greek and Roman Sources
IV. Coptic Motifs: Some Philosophical Concepts
V. Significant Dates: The Historical Background
VI. The Rietz Coptic Textiles: An Illustrated Catalog
Looms and Textiles of the Copts: First Millennium Egyptian Textiles in
the Carl Austin Rietz Collection of the California Academy of Sciences
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Last updated 07 January 2022
Our permanent research collection consists of more than 16,000 objects, most of which are ethnographic. Current strengths include holdings from the U.S. Southwest and the Pacific Islands, and basketry from California. Our searchable online database features the entire Anthropology collection, including digital images for every piece.
The Department of Anthropology houses a collection of hominin fossil and comparative casts that are available for reference by visiting researchers and students.