Ragged linen cloth decorated with purple medallion: naked male figure with cloak and shield with tondo surrounded by representations of lions and dogs(?).
- Found/Acquired: Akhmim
- (Africa,Egypt,Upper Egypt,Akhmim)
- Length: 38 centimetres
- Width: 37.5 centimetres
13 February 2001
Reason for analysis
Analysis of Coptic Textile Fragments (EA 18223)
While conserving Coptic textiles it was noted that several fragments had an oily,brown, often opaque material lodged between the interstices of the fibres as well assmall amounts of residue on the surface. Previous literature on Coptic burial techniqueshas shown that this material may relate to the embalming process, where a mixture ofcedar oil and honey was employed. A sample was taken for analysis.A second group of fragments from the collection had a white deposit on thesurface and analysis was requested to determine what the deposit was and if it wasdetrimental to the long-term preservation of the fragments.Analysis of dye from a sample of a purple section of one of the fragments (EA18223) was also requested.DYE ANALYSISThe purple sample was analysed at the same time and under the same conditionsas the Jordanian Textile project (2000/12). The dye extract was analysed by twoinjections onto the HPLC, one monitored at 435 nm and the other at 600 nm. The 435nm trace indicated the presence of alizarin and purpurin, i.e. madder, and the 600 nmtrace indicted the presence of indigo. The mixture of madder and indigo would accountfor the purple colour and is a similar result to that obtained for the Jordanian textiles.WHITE DEPOSITAnalysis of the white deposit by FTIR microscopy and XRD gave no indication ofits constitution. Analysis by SEM indicated the presence of carbon, oxygen, aluminium,silicon, sulphur and calcium, with traces of sodium, magnesium and nitrogen. This isgenerally indicative of the presence of a clay.ORGANIC DEPOSITAgain the sample was analysed by FTIR microscopy but no identification waspossible. As the sample was thought to be a honey or oil a sample was extracted in boiling was dried onto KBr which was pressed in to a disc and analysed by FTIR. Theonly identification possible was that the extract was organic. This was confirmed by SEMwhich showed only the presence of carbon and oxygen with traces of nitrogen, sulphurand chlorine. Analysis using o-Toluidine reagent for the presence of gums and honeygave a negative result.1 Although this would indicate that there were no sugars or gumspresent the sample was quite small and may not have provided sufficient quantity for apositive result. These analyses used all of the sample taken and realistically furtheranalysis would require a technique such as GC-MS for identification.
Analysis reference number
Ancient Egypt & Sudan
There is no image of this object, or there may be copyright restrictions
If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: email@example.com
Object reference number: YCA70250
British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.
The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.