Phoenician textile fabrics, embroidered or dyed—Account of the chief Phoenician dye—Mollusks from which the purple was obtained—Mode of obtaining them—Mode of procuring the dye from them—Process of dyeing—Variety of the tints— Manufacture of glass—Story of its invention—Three kinds of Phoenician glass—1. Transparent colourless glass—2. Semi- transparent coloured glass—3. Opaque glass, much like porcelain—Description of objects in glass—Methods pursued in the manufacture—Phoenician ceramic art—Earliest specimens—Vases with geometrical designs—Incised patterning—Later efforts—Use of enamel—Great amphora of Curium—Phoenician ceramic art disappointing—Ordinary metallurgy—Implements—Weapons—Toilet articles—Lamp- stands and tripods—Works in iron and lead.
Phoenicia was celebrated from a remote antiquity for the manufacture of textile fabrics. The materials which she employed for them were wool, linen yarn, perhaps cotton, and, in the later period of her commercial prosperity, silk. The “white wool” of Syria was supplied to her in abundance by the merchants of Damascus, and wool of lambs, rams, and goats seems also to have been furnished by the more distant parts of Arabia. Linen yarn may have been imported from Egypt, where it was largely manufactured, and was of excellent quality; while raw silk is said to have been “brought to Tyre and Berytus by the Persian merchants, and there both dyed and woven into cloaks." The price of silk was very high, and it was customary in Phoenicia to intermix the precious material either with linen or with cotton; as is still done to a certain extent in modern times. It is perhaps doubtful whether, so far as the mere fabric of stuffs was concerned, the products of the Phoenician looms were at all superior to those which Egypt and Babylonia furnished, much less to those which came from India, and passed under the name of Sindones. Two things gave to the Phoenician stuffs that high reputation which caused them to be more sought for than any others; and these were, first, the brilliancy and beauty of their colours, and, secondly, the delicacy with which they were in many instances embroidered. We have not much trace of Phoenician embroidery on the representations of dresses that have come down to us; but the testimony of the ancients is unimpeachable, and we may regard it as certain that the art of embroidery, known at a very early date to the Hebrews, was cultivated with great success by their Phoenician neighbours, and under their auspices reached a high point of perfection. The character of the decoration is to be gathered from the extant statues and bas-reliefs, from the representations on paterae, on cups, dishes, and gems. There was a tendency to divide the surface to be ornamented into parallel stripes or bands, and to repeat along the line a single object, or two alternately. Rosettes, monsters of various kinds, winged globes with uraei, scarabs, sacred trees, and garlands or blossoms of the lotus were the ordinary “motives." Occasionally human figures might be introduced, and animal forms even more frequently; but a stiff conventionalism prevailed, the same figures were constantly repeated, and the figures themselves had in few cases much beauty.