I LOVE what I get to do! I treasure hunt for a living. Well, vintage sewing patterns and fabric are usually the treasure, but it's definitely treasure hunting. Last Friday I found almost 2 1/2 pounds of silver. I was at one of my top-secret favorite hunting grounds, and I found a glittering metal and cotton mesh textile. I calmly scooped it into my shopping cart and checked out. When I got home and did my research, (I love wikipedia and the internet for research) I found that it is antique Egyptian (no, not ancient Egyptian), called tulle bi telle or Assuit. The scarf or shawl is 86" long and 36" wide, heavily stitched(?) with silver tape. Stitched isn't really accurate; the tape is wrapped by hand diagonally around the intersections of cotton netting which is twined together in a sprang technique. The border design is geometric, and I understand that it's most likely Muslim influence and not Coptic. I'm trying to find out for sure that the metal is actually silver and not silver plating, but after looking closely at it in mid-day sunlight, I'm pretty sure it's silver. So what am I going to do with it? Sell it, of course. It's a lovely ethnic treasure, which I don't happen to collect, but someone is going to love it! There is only one very small hole at one end, which could be carefully mended. As soon as I do the rest of my research I'll list it on ebay, since it will be seen internationally that way. It's either valuable as an antique ethnic textile, or as a whole lot of silver. The pictures only show a part of the scarf; I haven't figured out how to best get a photo of the entire thing. Perhaps on the deck in the daylight will work. If it's not raining. It's an amazing piece of craftsmanship! Each one of the pieces is wrapped by hand and flattened. I get bored just knitting a hat. Can you imagine how long a piece like this would take? How old is it really? What was it used for...garment or table cover? If I find out, I'll post a PS. And if anyone reads this and knows more about it, please contact me here.
PS: Well, we figured it out. Not silver but silver plated copper. Very beautiful but not of value for the metal. I've listed it on ebay now.