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Kahun (el-Lahun) sling: A Novel Approach (Read 16231 times)
Teg
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Kahun (el-Lahun) sling: A Novel Approach
Feb 7th, 2013 at 9:37pm
 
Dear Slingers

This single article is one huge leap of faith. I hereby present a new approach to reconstruct a "Kahun" or "Lahun" sling. I propose that the technique used to make this sling was not a sort of weaving but a technique, which in german is called "Zwirnbinden der Kette" (english names: Warp twine tie / bands with twisted warp yarns / warp twining; french name: Galons à fils de chaîne enroulés). A general overview including classification of this technique can be found in: Annemarie Seiler-Baldinger, Systematik der Textilen Techniken, Ethnologisches Seminar der Universität Basel/Museum für Völkerkunde und Schweizerisches Museum für Volkskunde Basel/Geographisch-Ethnologische Gesellschaft Basel, Basel 1991. This book is written in German.

Let's have a look at the sling I refer to:

...

This photo was posted by David Morningstar: http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1172017416/270#270

Quote:
This is a photo emailed to me from Manchester Museum:
 
From the Egypt and Sudan Collection - a sling and sling shots dating to the Middle Kingdom (c. 1900 BC), from Kahun, on display in the Daily Life gallery.
 
Description:  A sling and three sling stones, for use either as a toy or for hunting and fighting. Made of woven plant fibre
with long cords at either end, one of which has a loop to fit around a finger.
Period/Dynasty:  Middle Kingdom (Dyn. 12)
Site:  Africa, Egypt, Faiyum, Kahun (el-Lahun)


In the following posts I will append several pictures of a small model of 10 cm length and 3 cm maximal width. It is made out of rather thick (ca. 2 mm diameter) hemp string. In the photo we see that thinner materials were used in the original sling. Unfortunately I had no thinner cord available, so I made a model with what I had.

I made this little but fully functional model of the pouch within one hour. The only tool used was a knife. I did not use a loom or a similar device.

Why do I think that this could be the "right" technique:
This is my very first try to recreate this pouch but I already have achieved all principal attributes of the sling displayed in the photo.
This attributes are:
- A constant increase of width of the pouch.
- A "weaving pattern" with "V shape" (please regard the center line!).
- A straight outer border.
- If the sling is closed a slight curve of the bottom.
- The above point lets us suppose that the pouch is slightly cupped. This slight cupping was also achieved.

Further judging by the V shape visible at the center line I supposed that the additional material to enlarge the pouch was added along the center line. This was also achieved.

General remarks:

I have not made a retention or release cord but to add one would be no problem at all as they could just be whipped onto the remaining strings. If one would plan to make a whole sling one could also take the strings from the retention/release cords as warps.

The slight diversions of the weaving pattern results from the fact that I have used only weft thread and not two weft threads. The use of only one weft thread results in a slightly asymmetric applied force when the weft strand is tightened. One could remedy this by using two counterpropagating weft threads. As I had no picture of the sides of the pouch I could not determine if one or two weft threads were used. For the sake of simplicity I therefore worked with only one weft thread.

Further this design can be freely scaled to nearly any diameter and executed with any diameter of string. The rate of width increase and therefore also the cupping can be controlled by the amount of material added in each step. A further nice side effect is that different patterns can be achieved by using coloured warps.

There is an article of a reconstruction by Mr. Burgess in Journal of the Arms and Armour Society. I have not read nor access to this article. However, from the description of a reconstruction made by Jörn Michaelsen, in which he followed Mr. Burgess, I know that the above approach is different in that one does not need to use any tools like looms and needles. I personally think that the above approach is more probable, especially if one considers that it is "inefficient" to make one special loom for one special item.

To conclude this article I want to list the next steps and requirements to consolidate if this could be the technique used in this sling:
- Photos with high resolution, especially of the sides of the pouch, the transition from pouch to retention and release cords and the bottom of the sling.
- To make a model with thinner cord to allow for direct comparison.
- To know the exact dimensions of the pouch.

The best solution would be direct access to the sling, but this would require quite a lot of organisation and I don't think that a museum would allow me to probe the sling directly with my fingers.

Teg / Thomas Gartmann


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« Last Edit: Feb 8th, 2013 at 9:16am by Teg »  
 
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Teg
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Re: Kahun (el-Lahun) sling: A Novel Approach
Reply #1 - Feb 7th, 2013 at 9:39pm
 
Top view of the prototype.
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Re: Kahun (el-Lahun) sling: A Novel Approach
Reply #2 - Feb 7th, 2013 at 9:40pm
 
Front view
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Re: Kahun (el-Lahun) sling: A Novel Approach
Reply #3 - Feb 7th, 2013 at 9:40pm
 
Bottom view
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wanderer
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Re: Kahun (el-Lahun) sling: A Novel Approach
Reply #4 - Feb 8th, 2013 at 3:28am
 
That looks very nice, Teg Smiley

I don't understand entirely what you are doing, but it looks convincing.

Is this the twisted warps that we see at the surface? The thing that always puzzled me is that the number of warps would have to reduce towards the ends of the pouch, but... this looks like perhaps you are converting warps into wefts as you go towards the ends? Is that what is happening?

I wonder if this also explains the Cortailloid sling construction, given the sole illustration of that which I know?

Great idea!
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Re: Kahun (el-Lahun) sling: A Novel Approach
Reply #5 - Feb 8th, 2013 at 8:11am
 
So, this was a very short night, but I caught the "weaver fever". I found a leftover coil of white hemp string in my stock and made a second more elaborate attempt. This time I worked with two counterpropagating weft threads which resulted in a more symmetric work.

I'm quite convinced that I use the correct, or at least a very close, technique. Again, this prototype has all principal attributes of the original one.
I'm not yet sure on some details like how exactly the additional material was added. But I think that the overall technique is correct.
I made this pouch in ca. 5 hours, again without using any tools save: A knife and a pen as anchorage point.

Details that do not yet match the original:
- Used material and diameter of string (original: unknown, maybe flax or linen vs. treated hemp in this reconstruction)
- Length-width ratio (7:5 in the original vs. 8:3)
- Overall dimensions (unknown vs. 8 cm folded length, 3 cm maximal width).
- Tightness of the "twining". I get the impression that the original is slightly tighter "twisted" and that the used cord is slightly less twisted than the one I used.
- Way of adding additional material (unknown)

I can easily adjust all the above points as soon as I have gathered more information or had a close look at the original.

In this sling I made some small mistakes while working, which I think are very peculiar for this technique. If the same mistakes can be found in the original sling, it would be quite a strong indication that the technique "Zwirnbinden der Kette" was used.
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Re: Kahun (el-Lahun) sling: A Novel Approach
Reply #6 - Feb 8th, 2013 at 8:31am
 
wanderer wrote on Feb 8th, 2013 at 3:28am:
That looks very nice, Teg Smiley

I don't understand entirely what you are doing, but it looks convincing.

Is this the twisted warps that we see at the surface? The thing that always puzzled me is that the number of warps would have to reduce towards the ends of the pouch, but... this looks like perhaps you are converting warps into wefts as you go towards the ends? Is that what is happening?

I wonder if this also explains the Cortailloid sling construction, given the sole illustration of that which I know?

Great idea!



Thanks!
I was actually looking for a technique to make nice patterns for a peruvian split pouch. Then I stumbled over this technique in a book, made an example piece (have a look at the thread: pictures of slings and slinging) and it hit me like a brick on the head: I have seen exactly this pattern before! I feel that I may have solved a more than 2000 years old puzzle!

Yes, this are the twisted warps you see at the surface. I took away the warps in exactly the same way as I added them. I took them along the weft threads to the border of the pouch. The border would be a place which I would closely inspect in the original sling. Maybe you can detect there signs or traces on how the material was added or removed.

I have not closely studied the cortaillod sling. From my point of view the border could be similar to the one I made. However I don't know if I could achieve also this pattern with "Zwirnbinden der Kette". I would need to see the original piece. Link the the thread about it: http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1238447472/0
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Re: Kahun (el-Lahun) sling: A Novel Approach
Reply #7 - Feb 8th, 2013 at 8:55am
 
And I just read that the original cortaillod sling is lost...  Angry

I could try, but I have no idea how it will turn out...
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Re: Kahun (el-Lahun) sling: A Novel Approach
Reply #8 - Feb 8th, 2013 at 10:01am
 
I'm sure David Morningstar will chip in on this, I seem to remember he's actually got as close as anyone to the original in Manchester Museum.

(I'm a bit vague since I've not been keeping track of this forum for a year or so).

The original material would surely be linen. Given the period I'm not sure the Egyptians used much else than that. I suppose my only reservation about the warps to wefts is how the loose ends are terminated sufficiently well (having been cut) to avoid them pulling out, not that I think that is an insuperable problem.

Yes, strange and sad about the disappearance of the Cortailloid sling. It just seems to vanish with no-one knowing what happened to it. Perhaps it lurks still in someone's private collection. In that case the short warps (if that is what they are) are on the outside of the pouch and it may not fit with the detail of the edges shown in the illustration, which I've just looked at again.
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Mauro Fiorentini
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Re: Kahun (el-Lahun) sling: A Novel Approach
Reply #9 - Feb 8th, 2013 at 12:15pm
 
And what about your exams?  Grin
Very nice tutorial as always Teg, rightly added to the PG's Index.
Greetings,
Mauro.
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Like! Smiley https://www.facebook.com/Arte-Picena-238289793027749/timeline/
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Re: Kahun (el-Lahun) sling: A Novel Approach
Reply #10 - Feb 8th, 2013 at 1:32pm
 
Mauro Fiorentini wrote on Feb 8th, 2013 at 12:15pm:
And what about your exams?  Grin
Very nice tutorial as always Teg, rightly added to the PG's Index.
Greetings,
Mauro.


Eh? What are exams?  Grin
The last one was yesterday, dealing with half metals and other funny things  Wink. Afterwards I had some B&B (Burger & Beer) with friends and then I started knotting and writing down the ideas which were floating around in my head for already more than one week  Wink.

Well then, back to topic:

wanderer wrote on Feb 8th, 2013 at 10:01am:
...

The original material would surely be linen. Given the period I'm not sure the Egyptians used much else than that. I suppose my only reservation about the warps to wefts is how the loose ends are terminated sufficiently well (having been cut) to avoid them pulling out, not that I think that is an insuperable problem.

...


The fastening and insertion of this warps is one point which could be done in several ways:
- simply running them along the weft to the border of the pouch (the chosen way).
- looping them around the weft and/or "weaving" them backwards into the braid. One may has to use a needle.
- making a small knot and then "tucking" it into the already made "cloth"
- seewing or whipping with single fibers / connecting the inserted warps to the weft thread.

I have only tried the first possiblity as it is the easiest one. During the work I left the inserted warps long enough so that I had enough room to compensate an accidental pull. See the appended picture. One could also imagine several ways to guide or weave the freshly inserted warps right after insertion. Example: crossing the inserted warps: Warps inserted from the left go to the right side and vice versa.

Once the sling is finished and the ends are cut off, it is not easily possible to get a warp out of the pouch. At least not by rubbing, stretching, twisting, pulling and bending the pouch which I was doing with the second attempt now for the whole day. However, if you would pick on one single warp in the center, you could pull it out, but is still not easy. If you would twist the warps even tighter and use rougher material you would certainly need a needle or a stick to dislocate them.
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Re: Kahun (el-Lahun) sling: A Novel Approach
Reply #11 - Feb 8th, 2013 at 1:52pm
 

I would love to comment but I dont understand what you are doing  Sad

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Re: Kahun (el-Lahun) sling: A Novel Approach
Reply #12 - Feb 8th, 2013 at 2:13pm
 
Quote:
Once the sling is finished and the ends are cut off, it is not easily possible to get a warp out of the pouch. At least not by rubbing, stretching, twisting, pulling and bending the pouch which I was doing with the second attempt now for the whole day. However, if you would pick on one single warp in the center, you could pull it out, but is still not easy. If you would twist the warps even tighter and use rougher material you would certainly need a needle or a stick to dislocate them.

Yes, I can see that.

I was looking for the detailed pictures David Morningstar took (I see he's just posted) which are here
    http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1140984986/86
but I thought there were others somewhere? - as I wrote before I've not been keeping up with the forum recently.

I suppose the other question is whether you twine only pairs of weft strands or more. There look like an awful lot of loose strands there, are they twined just in pairs? With your Peruvian hat on they ought perhaps to be in fours Wink.
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Re: Kahun (el-Lahun) sling: A Novel Approach
Reply #13 - Feb 8th, 2013 at 8:32pm
 
Very interesting work; thanks for posting it.

When I was working on my first Tutankhamun sling, I tried to do a similar method to what you have tried, but I did not understand enough of what I was doing to make it a success. Are you familiar with tablet or card weaving? It can be used to produce essentially the same type of twined warp weaving you are doing, and using cards might make the process easier.

Here's a link to some more pictures of the Lahun sling that David Morningstar took:

http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1331821760/0

You can see some measurements there, and maybe some more details, and here's another good picture of the sling:

https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=8947DC47E1BCD800&id=8947DC47E1BCD800!313

In that picture you can clearly see that two warps were used. I would have to study the pictures some more, but I can't tell yet whether or not any twining was used for the sling because of how dense the weaving is. Maybe you can look at the pictures and see what you think.

Teg wrote on Feb 7th, 2013 at 9:37pm:
There is an article of a reconstruction by Mr. Burgess in Journal of the Arms and Armour Society. I have not read nor access to this article. However, from the description of a reconstruction made by Jörn Michaelsen, in which he followed Mr. Burgess, I know that the above approach is different in that one does not need to use any tools like looms and needles. I personally think that the above approach is more probable, especially if one considers that it is "inefficient" to make one special loom for one special item.



The sling in the Burgess's article is a actually a different sling from the same location, and dates to a more recent time period. I think it is currently in the Petrie Museum.

-Timothy Potter

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Re: Kahun (el-Lahun) sling: A Novel Approach
Reply #14 - Feb 10th, 2013 at 2:42pm
 
Wanderer, David Morningstar and Timothy Potter: Thank you very much for the photos, informations and comments!
I think I have now enough informations to keep me busy for some time.

@ David Morningstar: I can't really explain what I'm doing, as I'm working at the really limits of my skills. I twist the warps, then pass the weft thread, then I twist them again. I will post a really detailed tutorial when I think that I have worked out all the details.

@ wanderer: Peruvian braids in honor but until now I twined them always in pairs Wink. I will play around with this.

@ Timothy Potter: I know what tablet weaving is, but I have no experience with it. I was actually looking for tablet weaving when I stumbled over warp twining. This could be a good method for later on but for the moment I will continue "by hand" as I have no tablets.
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