THE supply of skins having been found inadequate to the gratification of their desire for comfort, the ancient Egyptians gradually developed the art of making mats from papyrus, a plant as important to them as any of our trees, fibrous grasses, or hemp are to us. While at work on the manufacture of these mats, the weavers used to squat on the ground. They became skilful, both in constructing the fabric and arranging the colors; the latter were quite bright and effective, being chiefly red, blue, yellow, and green, with black and white to define.
Egyptians used rugs in the decoration of their rooms, hanging them on walls and also suspending them between the pillars. But as the glory of Egypt departed, her skill in rug-making also declined ; and the Egyptian rugs of the present day are of a coarse quality, being made in private houses under the primitive conditions that existed thousands of years ago. The last manufactory in working order was at Boulak, a suburb of Cairo, but it has been closed for several years. A great many rugs, however, are imported into Egypt, the majority being from Persia, Turkey, and India. Cairo is still one of the leading emporiums for the sale to tourists of rugs of Eastern make.
Dr. F. Sarre, the distinguished archaelogist, has proved quite recently by documentary evidence that the so-called Damascus rugs are really ancient Egyptian. This is a new and interesting fact to the student of ancient Oriental rugs. The distinctive greens and reds are added evidence of Egyptian ancestry.
( Originally Published Late 1900’s )