28 THE CIVILIZATION OF THE XIITH DYNASTY - KAHUN.
 
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soon as the spindle has lost its spin, it is picked up by the right hand and respun, and more fibre is drawn out and supplied to lengthen the thread. When the spindle reaches too low to the ground it is taken in the right hand, the thread released from the top groove, and wound on the shank by tossing the spindle round in the hand; when wound up close to the loose fibre it is re-caught in the groove and more spinning is continued.

50. The thread was used single for weaving; and also twisted with two or more generally three - and sometimes six - strands, for string. The string was wound in balls of as much as 2 or 3 inches diameter. It was used mainly for netting, the fishing nets having ½ to ¾-inch mesh; the smallest mesh is 1/8-inch square. Netting needles both of bronze (XVII, 16) and of wood were employed ; and it seems very likely that reels were also used for netting, they are found both of pottery, black clay, and of wood (IX, 24, 25). The cloth made was of varying fineness, the closest having 54 threads in the woof and 94 in the warp, and the coarsest about half the number. For sewing, bronze needles were used, which were very common (XVII, 14) ; the finest are 1/20-inch thick. Wooden bodkins were also used (IX, 27) for the coarser purposes.

Wool was also spun ; a handful of weaver's waste is mainly made up of blue worsted ends, and blue wool, with some red and some green ends. A lump of red dyed wool, not yet spun, was found. Bags were made, as in later times, with a drawing cord run through a hem round the mouth. Cartonnage was also made of layers of canvas and plaster, painted externally; this was used for mummers' masks (VIII, 27).

51. Of coarser fabrics rope of flax, palm fibre, and rush was made. It is usually of two strands ; but sometimes it was thrice doubled, giving eight strands. Wide network was made of this rope to enclose jars ; a ring passed round the lower end of the jar, the net covered the sides, and joined into a handle of rope at the top. Rings of rush rope are found, probably for carrying jars on the head. Small, flat, square baskets of rope were made, about 6 or 7 inches in height and width. And a band, probably for going round the back of a man in palm climbing, is formed of 14 fine ropes parallel, interwoven with strips of linen cloth, and ending in two thick loops for attaching the rope. Baskets were also made of palm leaf; both of the modern round type with palm rope handles, and of the flat, square form ; the latter is most thoughtfully designed, with a wooden bottom bar, woven rope corners, six fine ropes up the sides to distribute the pressure, retained in place by a cross rope, and ending in a twisted rope handle, the top edge having a fine rope binding,

For fulling cloth some curious balls of leather appear to have been used. It seems as if the cloth were drawn over a round bar placed horizontally, and beaten upon that by a leather ball held in the right hand. The balls are oval, filled with leather cuttings, and always worn in a line beneath, slightly inclined to the axis exactly as if brought down on a bar in front of the worker.

52. Sandals were very closely and beautifully stitched up of rush, and usually soled with leather. A small bundle of rush was wound round by a rush thread, which at every turn pierced through the edge of a previous bundle. Thus these successive bundles were bound together edge to edge, and a flat surface built up. This was edged round in the same way. In basket making exactly the same principle was followed, with great neatness (see XVII, 8). The rush sandals soled with leather, leather sandals alone, and leather shoes, were all used. The shoes seem to have been just originating at that period; two or three examples are known, but all of them have the leather sandal strap between the toes, and joining to the sides of the heel, to retain the sole on the foot ; the upper leather being stitched on merely as a covering without its being intended to hold the shoe on the foot. These soles are compound, of three or four thicknesses.

Rush mats, like the modern hasira, appear to have been made, as a weaver's beam was found with thread holes 1½ inches apart, 28 holes in all. Flat sticks for beating up the thread into place, after the shuttle has passed in the loom, are also found. Brushes, about 1½ inches thick and 8 inches long, were made of rush fibre bound with linen cord, and with a loop for hanging up.

53. The fields were cultivated with much the same tools that we see in the paintings of later times. The hoes of the simplest forms (IX, 1, 5); the blade always of wood, and let into the handle. The tie was usually passed around the blade at notches cut in the edge; but it was also fastened sometimes through holes in the blade, as in IX, 3. Some hoes have a curved handle, which is the type more generally copied in the hieroglyph mer. Rakes were also commonly used (IX, 14), and have from seven to nine teeth, cut in one piece of wood.

 


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