The English term pile derives from Latin pilus, hair, denoting the raised texture of textiles. Loop-pile fabrics have been preserved from Roman and Late Antique Egypt, where the inserted loops were not cut through but left rounded. Besides large sized linen loop-pile fabrics, that were presumable used as furnishing textiles, multicolored loops were used to create figural as well as geometric decorations. Therefore dyed woolen loops were inserted into a plain woven linen ground fabric.
The continuing taste for these special kind of textiles can be seen in texts written on papyri or ostraka, that date from the Roman period until after the conquest of Egypt by the Arabs (641/642 CE).
- De Moor, A., Verhecken-Lammens, C. and Verhecken, A. (2008) 3500 Years of Textile Art. Tielt, Belgium.
Landry, W.S. (2003) On the Possibility of Byzantine Velvet, Halifax.
Morelli, F. (2002) Gonachia e kaunakai nei papiri con due documenti inediti ( P. Vindob. G 1620e P. Vindob. G 18884) e uno riedito (P. Brook. 25). The Journal of Juristic Papyrology, 32: 55-81.