The art of weaving appears to be coeval with the first dawning of civilization. We find it practiced with great skill by the Egyptians at a very early period; The vestures of fine linen" such as Joseph wore, (Genesis 41:42) were the product of Egyptian looms. The Israelites were probably acquainted with the process before their sojourn in Egypt; but it was undoubtedly there that they attained the proficiency which enabled them to execute the hangings of the tabernacle, (Exodus 35:35; 1 Chronicles 4:21) and other artistic textures. The Egyptian loom was usually upright, and the weaver stood at his work. The cloth was fixed sometimes at the top, sometimes at the bottom. The modern Arabs use a procumbent loom, raised above the ground by short legs. The textures produced by the Jewish weavers were very various. The coarser kinds, such tent-cloth, sack-cloth and the "hairy garments" of the poor, were made goat's or camel's hair. (Exodus 26:7; Matthew 3:4) Wool was extensively used for ordinary clothing, (Leviticus 13:47; Proverbs 27:26; 31:13; Ezekiel 27:18) while for finer work flax was used, varying in quality, and producing the different textures described in the Bible as "linen" and "fine linen." The mixture of wool and flax in cloth intended for a garment was interdicted. (Leviticus 19:19; 22:11)
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