Metrology, Coptic

METROLOGY, COPTIC

In stone and textile workshops, Coptic probably used sample books with favorite patterns and wooden stencils in order to reproduce certain patterns many times. Both samples and stencils require a general system of measurements, and stonemasons ordered their quarry blocks according to standard sizes.

Some measurements are taken from third- to ninth-century reliefs and textiles in the Museum Simeonstift, Trier, and the Coptic Museum, Cairo, give that Coptic refused the Roman foot of 11 2/3 inches (29.57 cm), but adhered to the royal Egyptian yard of 20 2/3 inches (52.5 cm), the smallest unit being one-fifteenth, that is, 1 1/3 inches (3.5 cm). To what extent, however, there were minor changes of this system due to local Coptic traditions and centers remains doubtful unless large- scale investigations are carried out.

  • Nauerth, C. Textilkunst im spätantiken Ägypten. Trier, 1978.

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