The term "Copt" originally referred to the native Egyptians, as opposed to the Greek or Arab invaders. And later "Copt" became a religious designation referring to Christian Egyptians. Textiles known as "Coptic" are from the Christian cemetaries in Egypt and date from the 3rd century C.E. onwards. The textile on exhibit contains a beautiful color purple. While the dye may be from plant extracts, it is more likely "Tyrian Purple" or Royal Purple. This dye was produced from the mucus of the hypobranchial gland of various species of marine mollusks, notably Murex. It took roughly 12,000 shellfish to extract 1.5 grams of pure dye.
textile fabrics; African; animals; flowers; patterns; purple
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