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Linen is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant.Linen is very strong, absorbent, and dries faster than cotton. Because of these properties, linen is comfortable to wear in hot weather and is valued for use in garments. It also has other distinctive characteristics, notably its tendency to wrinkle.
Linen textiles appear to be some of the oldest in the world; their history goes back many thousands of years. Dyed flax fibers found in a cave in Southeastern Europe (present-day Georgia) suggest the use of woven linen fabrics from wild flax may date back over 30,000 years. Linen was used in ancient civilizations including Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, and linen is mentioned in the Bible. In the 18th century and beyond, the linen industry was important in the economies of several countries in Europe as well as the American colonies.Textiles in a linen weave texture, even when made of cotton, hemp, or other non-flax fibers, are also loosely referred to as “linen”.


The world’s leading producers of linen are largely concentrated in Europe, with a few notable exceptions. Here are some of the top linen-producing countries and a brief history of their linen industries:

■ Belgium: Belgium has a long history of linen production, dating back to the Middle Ages. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Belgian linen became known for its high quality, and the country is still a major producer of linen today.
■ France: As I mentioned earlier, France has a rich history of linen production, with the industry dating back to ancient times. The linen produced in France is highly regarded for its quality and durability.
■ Ireland: The Irish linen industry began in the 17th century and quickly became one of the country’s most important industries. Irish linen is still highly sought after today for its fine texture and high quality.
■ Italy: Italy has been producing linen for centuries, with the industry centered mainly in the northern regions of the country. Italian linen is known for its softness and durability.
■ China: China is one of the world’s largest producers of linen, with a long history of linen production dating back to ancient times. Chinese linen is known for its high quality and competitive pricing.
■ India: India is also a major producer of linen, with a long history of textile production. Indian linen is known for its unique textures and patterns.

These countries, along with others such as Poland, Russia, and the United States, continue to produce high-quality linen that is used in a variety of products, including clothing, bedding, and home furnishings.

■ ベルギー ベルギーのリネン生産の歴史は古く、中世にさかのぼります。18~19世紀にはその品質の高さで知られるようになり、現在でも主要なリネン生産国です。
■ フランス リネン生産の歴史が古く、その歴史は古代に遡ります。フランスで生産されるリネンはその品質と耐久性で高い評価を得ています。
■ アイルランド アイルランドのリネン産業は17世紀に始まり瞬く間に国の重要な産業のひとつとなりました。現在もその上質な風合いと品質は高く評価されています。
■ イタリア イタリアでは何世紀にもわたりリネンの生産が行われており主に北部を中心に産業が行われています。柔らかさと耐久性が特徴です。
■ 中国 中国は世界有数のリネン生産国であり、リネン生産の歴史は古く古代までさかのぼります。中国産リネンは高品質で価格競争力があることで知られています。
■ インド インドもリネンの主要産地であり、繊維生産の長い歴史があります。インドのリネンは独特の風合いと柄で知られています。

The word linen is of West Germanic origin and cognate to the Latin name for the flax plant, linum, and the earlier Greek λινόν (linón).This word history has given rise to a number of other terms in English, most notably line, from the use of a linen (flax) thread to determine a straight line. It is also etymologically related to a number of other terms, including lining, because linen was often used to create an inner layer for clothing, and lingerie, from French, which originally denoted underwear made of linen.
“cloth from woven flax,” early 14c., noun use of adjective linen “made of flax” from Old English līn “flax, linen thread, linen cloth” + -en (2). Old English lin is from Proto-Germanic *linam (source also of Old Saxon, Old Norse, Old High German lin “flax, linen,” German Leinen “linen,” Gothic lein “linen cloth”), probably an early borrowing from Latin linum “flax, linen,” which, along with Greek linon is from a non-Indo-European language. Beekes writes, “Original identity is possible, however, since the cultivation of flax in Central Europe is very old. Still, it is more probable that linon and linum derive from a Mediterranean word. The word is unknown in Indo-Iranian (but the concept is, of course).” Lithuanian linai, Old Church Slavonic linu, Irish lin probably are ultimately from Latin or Greek.

「古英語 līn「亜麻、リネン糸、リネン布」+-en から、「亜麻で作られた」形容詞 linen の名詞的用法、14世紀初頭。古英語 lin は原ゲルマン語 *linam (古サクソン語、古ノルド語、古高ドイツ語 lin 「亜麻、リネン」、ドイツ語 Leinen 「麻布」、ゴート語 lein 「麻布」の語源)、おそらくラテン語 linum 「亜麻、リネン」から早く借用したもので、ギリシャ語 linon とともに非インド・ヨーロッパ系言語からきていると思われます。しかし、中央ヨーロッパでの亜麻の栽培は非常に古くから行われていたので、原語との同一性はあり得ます。しかし、リノンとリヌムが地中海の言葉に由来する可能性はより高いです。インド・イラン語ではこの言葉は知られていない(しかし概念はもちろんある)。” リトアニア語のlinai、古教会スラブ語のlinu、アイルランド語のlinは、おそらく最終的にはラテン語かギリシャ語に由来するものと推察されます。

There are many references to linen throughout the Bible, reflecting the textile’s entrenched presence in human cultures.In Judaism, the only law concerning which fabrics may be interwoven together in clothing concerns the mixture of linen and wool, called shaatnez; it is restricted in Deuteronomy 22:11 “Thou shalt not wear a mingled stuff, wool and linen together” and Leviticus 19:19, “…neither shall there come upon thee a garment of two kinds of stuff mingled together.” There is no explanation for this in the Torah itself and it is categorized as a type of law known as chukim, a statute beyond man’s ability to comprehend.First-century Romano-Jewish historian Josephus suggested that the reason for the prohibition was to keep the laity from wearing the official garb of the priests, while medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher Maimonides thought that the reason was that heathen priests wore such mixed garments.Others explain that it is because God often forbids mixtures of disparate kinds, not designed by God to be compatible in a certain way, with mixing animal and vegetable fibers being similar to having two different types of plowing animals yoked together; also, such commands serve both a practical as well as allegorical purpose, perhaps here preventing a priestly garment that would cause discomfort (or excessive sweat) in a hot climate.Linen is also mentioned in the Bible in Proverbs 31, a passage describing a noble wife. Proverbs 31:22 says, “She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.” Fine white linen is also worn by angels in the New Testament

聖書にはリネンに関する記述が多く、人類の文化にリネンが深く浸透していることがうかがえます。ユダヤ教では、衣服に織り込んでよい布に関する唯一の律法はシャートネズと呼ばれるリネンとウールの混合に関するもので、申命記22章11節「汝、混じり合ったもの、ウールとリネンを共に着てならない」とレビ記19章19節「・・・2種類のものが混じり合った衣服は、あなたの上に着てならない」で制限されていました。1世紀のローマ・ユダヤ人の歴史家ヨセフスは、この禁止の理由を一般人が祭司の公式の衣服を身につけないようにするためだと示唆、中世のセファルディ系ユダヤ人の哲学者マイモニデスは、異教徒の祭司がそうした混ざった衣服を着ていたからだと考えています。 またこのような命令は実用的であると同時に寓意的な目的もあり、おそらくここでは暑い気候で不快感(または過剰な汗)を引き起こすような祭司の衣服を防ぐためであろうと説明する人もいます。リネンは聖書の箴言31章でも言及されており、高貴な妻を描写している箇所である。箴言31:22は”彼女は寝床に覆いを作り、上質の麻布と紫を身にまとう。”という記述があります。また、新約聖書では、上質な白いリネンは天使が身に着けています。

Early history
The discovery of dyed flax fibers in a cave in Southern Caucasus, West Asia (modern day Georgia) dated to 36,000 years ago suggests that ancient people used wild flax fibers to create linen-like fabrics from an early date.Fragments of straw, seeds, fibers, yarns, and various types of fabrics, including linen samples, dating to about 8,000 BC have been found in Swiss lake dwellings.Woven flax textile fragments have been “found between infant and child” in a burial at Çatalhöyük, a large settlement dating to around 7,000 BC. To the southwest, in ancient Mesopotamia, flax was domesticated and linen was produced. It was used mainly by the wealthier class of the society, including priests.The Sumerian poem of the courtship of Inanna mentions flax and linen.
In ancient Egypt, linen was used for mummification and for burial shrouds. It was also worn as clothing on a daily basis; white linen was worn because of the extreme heat. For example, the Tarkhan dress, considered to be among the oldest woven garments in the world and dated to between 3482 and 3102 BC, is made of linen. Plutarch wrote that the priests of Isis also wore linen because of its purity. Linen was sometimes used as a form of currency in ancient Egypt. Egyptian mummies were wrapped in linen as a symbol of light and purity, and as a display of wealth. Some of these fabrics, woven from hand-spun yarns, were very fine for their day, but are coarse compared with modern linen. When the tomb of the Pharaoh Ramses II, who died in 1213 BC, was discovered in 1881, the linen wrappings were in a state of perfect preservation after more than 3000 years.[citation needed] In the Ulster Museum, Belfast there is the mummy of ‘Takabuti’ the daughter of a priest of Amun, who died 2,500 years ago. The linen on this mummy is also in a perfect state of preservation.

The earliest written documentation of a linen industry comes from the Linear B tablets of Pylos, Greece, where linen is depicted as an ideogram and also written as “li-no” (Greek: λίνον, linon), and the female linen workers are cataloged as “li-ne-ya” (λίνεια, lineia).

A bag of white linen, unopened. Contains rolls of linen. Foundation deposit, Heb Sed Chapel at Lahun, Faiyum, Egypt. 12th Dynasty.
In 301 AD, Emperor Diocletian issued his famous Edict of Supreme Price.
the Linear B tablets of Pylos
Mummy bandage inscribed with a falcon, ca. 1000–945 B.C., found in the tomb of Henettawy in Egypt.
Alexander (356–323 B.C.) and his soldiers protected themselves with linothorax, a type of body armor made by laminating together layers of linen.
南西の古代メソポタミア文明では亜麻が栽培されており繊維のリネンが生産されていました。リネンは主に神官など社会の富裕層が使用していた。 シュメールのイナンナの求婚の詩にも亜麻やリネンのことが記述されています。


Middle Ages
Flax played an important role in the Middle Ages and linen became a valuable commercial article. A flourishing linen industry arose in Europe. In Germany, this was to be found especially in Silesia, Westphalia, Alsace and Swabia.The commercial dynasty of the Fuggers, who became by far the richest family in the whole of Europe, began with the linen trade in the German city of Augsburg. Jacob Fugger, known as “the Rich”, was the son of a weaver.On the mountain ranges of the Swabian Alb, which are high in precipitation, flax was still cultivated in large quantities during the 19th century and then woven into cloth of exceptional value in the homes of the local peasants.

there was a thriving trade in German flax and linen. The trade spread throughout Germany by the 9th century and spread to Flanders and Brabant by the 11th century. The Lower Rhine was a center of linen making in the Middle Ages. Flax was cultivated and linen used for clothing in Ireland by the 11th century. Evidence suggests that flax may have been grown and sold in Southern England in the 12th and 13th centuries.Textiles, primarily linen and wool, were produced in decentralized home weaving mills.

Flax tissues, Tacuinum sanitatis, 14th century

中世には亜麻が重要な役割を果たし、リネンは貴重な商業品となりました。ヨーロッパではリネン産業が盛んでした。ドイツでは、特にシレジア、ヴェストファーレン、アルザス、シュヴァーベンなどで盛んに行われていました。 ヨーロッパで最も裕福な一族となったフュッガー家の商業王朝はドイツの都市アウグスブルクのリネン貿易から始まりました。「富豪」と呼ばれたヤコブ・フッガーは織物職人の息子でした。 降水量の多いシュヴァーベンアルプの山々では、19世紀になっても亜麻が大量に栽培され、地元の農民の家で格別な価値を持つ布に織り上げられドイツの亜麻とリネンの交易が盛んに行われるようになりました。9世紀にはドイツ全土に広がり、11世紀にはフランドルやブラバントにも広まりました。ライン川下流域は中世のリネン製造の中心地でした。11世紀にはアイルランドで亜麻が栽培されリネンが衣服に使われるようになりました。12~13世紀には南イングランドで亜麻が栽培され販売されていた可能性があります。 リネンとウールを中心とした織物は、分散した家庭用織物工場で生産されていました。

Modern history
Linen continued to be valued for garments in the 16th century and beyond. Specimens of linen garments worn by historical figures have survived. For example, a linen cap worn by Emperor Charles V was carefully preserved after his death in 1558.
There is a long history of the production of linen in Ireland. When the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685, many of the Huguenots who fled France settled in the British Isles and elsewhere. They brought improved methods for linen production with them, contributing to the growth of the linen industry in Ireland in particular.Among them was Louis Crommelin, a leader who was appointed overseer of the royal linen manufacture of Ireland. He settled in the town of Lisburn near Belfast, which is itself perhaps the most famous linen producing center throughout history; during the Victorian era the majority of the world’s linen was produced in the city, which gained it the name Linenopolis. Although the linen industry was already established in Ulster, Louis Crommelin found scope for improvement in weaving, and his efforts were so successful that he was appointed by the Government to develop the industry over a much wider range than the small confines of Lisburn and its surroundings. The direct result of his good work was the establishment, under statute, of the Board of Trustees of the Linen Manufacturers of Ireland in the year 1711. Several grades were produced including coarse lockram. The Living Linen Project was set up in 1995 as an oral archive of the knowledge of the Irish linen industry, which was at that time still available within a nucleus of people who formerly worked in the industry in Ulster.
1685 – Revocation of the Edict of Nantes leaves Huguenots defenseless; 400,000 flee
LINT AND LINEN scuttching the flax and making linen
In 16th century France, linen artisans clothed French courtiers in fine garments but much of that talent went into exile in the 17th century, when King Louis XIV outlawed Protestants from France. The artisans emigrated to Germany and northern Europe. For the first half of the 17th century, the Dutch town of Haarlem was a major center for linen production. The town benefited from the migration of experienced linen weavers from southern Netherlands during the Dutch Revolt. Merchants from other parts of Europe also sent linen products to Haarlem for bleaching and finishing, a process immortalized in Jacob van Ruisdael’s series of paintings of Haarlem bleaching fields. The industry declined toward the end of the 17th century, as producers sought to cut costs by moving production to more rural areas. With the decline of the Dutch and French linen industries, a new player emerged on the map—Belgian Flanders, and the town of Tielt in particular. Although Julius Caesar had commented on the quality of Flemish linen as early as 100 B.C., it was in the 18th century that it truly came into its own. By 1840, 71% of households around Tielt were involved in linen production.
View of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds c1665 Ruisdael
The linen industry was increasingly critical in the economies of Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. In England and then in Germany, industrialization and machine production replaced manual work and production moved from the home to new factories.
Linen was also an important product in the American colonies, where it was brought over with the first settlers and became the most commonly used fabric and a valuable asset for colonial households. The homespun movement encouraged the use of flax to make home spun textiles. Through the 1830s, most farmers in the northern United States continued to grow flax for linen to be used for the family’s clothing.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, linen was very significant to Russia and its economy. At one time it was the country’s greatest export item and Russia produced about 80% of the world’s fiber flax crop.

18世紀から19世紀にかけて、ヨーロッパの経済においてリネン産業はますます重要な位置を占めるようになりました。イギリスそしてドイツでは、工業化と機械生産が手作業に取って代わり生産は家庭から新しい工場に移っていきました。リネンはアメリカ植民地でも重要な製品で最初の入植者と共に持ち込まれ最も一般的に使用される織物となり植民地の家庭の貴重な財産となりました。 アメリカ独立戦争時においてのホームスパン運動は家庭で紡がれる織物を作るために亜麻を使うことを奨励しました。1830年代を通じてアメリカ北部のほとんどの農家は家族の衣類に使用するためにリネンのための亜麻を栽培し続けていました。19世紀後半から20世紀初頭にかけてリネンはロシアとその経済にとって非常に重要な製品になりました。一時期は国の最大の輸出品目でありロシアは世界の繊維亜麻作物の約80%を生産していました。

20th century
The market for poorer quality coarse linen collapsed in the late 18th century in Southern Ireland as a result of economic depression following the Seven Years War. Meanwhile fine linen manufacturing in the north east weathered the storm and survived. The success of the north eastern linen industry was due to long term, rigorous quality control and supervision of the Board of Trustees of the Linen Manufacturers. The board was established in 1711 and functioned until 1823.With the expansion of the British Empire in the 19th century demand for linen from around the world made Belfast a major industrial city. Ulster was spared the worst of the Potato Famine which ravaged the south of Ireland . At its height the linen industry employed tens of thousands though conditions in mills and factories were often appalling for the workers including young children. Tens of thousands more were also indirectly employed and dependent on the industry. During the 20th century the industry supplied linen for the Allied armies in both world wars. Modern machinery made the industry less labour intensive.
In 1925 when Gill wrote his book “The Rise Of The Irish Linen Industry”, linen manufacturing and ship building were synonymous with Belfast . In the decades following World War II, the introduction of synthetic fabrics and the mass production of cheap clothing sowed the decline of linen fabric and the linen industry in Northern Ireland . Today the fabric is only produced in small quantities and is an expensive textile.
EXPLOITED: Linen mill early 1900s (Belfast Images and memories)
1925年、コンラッド・ギルの著書”The Rise Of The Irish Linen Industry”を書いた当時、リネン製造と造船はベルファストの代名詞でした。第二次世界大戦後の数十年間、合成繊維の導入と安価な衣服の大量生産により北アイルランドのリネン生地とリネン産業は衰退していきました。現在ではリネン生地は少量しか生産されておらず原材料になる亜麻も現地のものはほぼ使用しなくなっており非常に高価な織物産業となっています。
Linen production became a family affair in 789, when French king Charlemagne decreed that all households must cultivate flax and weave their own linen fabric. This tradition persisted well into the 18th century, with clothing, bed linen, and domestic textiles all made at home.
Over the following centuries, linen formed the foundation of many of our greatest works of art. The 11th century Bayeux tapestry, depicting William the Conqueror seizing the crown from King Harold of England, was made from 70 meters of linen. In the early 16th century, Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens inspired many European artists to switch from wood panels to linen canvas, which remains popular today.


Why did the Huguenots produce linen?

There were several reasons why Huguenots were involved in the cultivation and production of linen:
■ Religion: Huguenots were French Protestants who faced persecution and discrimination in Catholic France. Many Huguenots were involved in industries such as linen production that were less controlled by the Catholic Church, as they provided a way to earn a living without facing religious discrimination.
■ Tradition: The cultivation of flax and the production of linen had been a part of French culture for centuries, and many Huguenots were familiar with the industry and had skills and knowledge that made them well-suited to work in it.
■ Innovation: Huguenots were known for their skills and innovation in a variety of industries, including linen production. Many Huguenot weavers brought with them new techniques and innovations that helped to advance the French linen industry and make it more competitive with other countries.
■ Geography: Many Huguenots settled in regions of France where linen production was already established, such as Normandy and Picardy. These regions had a long tradition of linen production and provided an ideal environment for Huguenots to continue their work in the industry.

Overall, the Huguenots’ involvement in the linen industry was driven by a combination of economic, social, and cultural factors, as well as their skills and knowledge in the field.

■ 宗教。宗教:ユグノーはフランスのプロテスタントで、カトリック国であるフランスで迫害と差別を受けていました。ユグノーの多くは、カトリック教会の支配が緩やかなリネン生産などの産業に従事し、宗教的な差別を受けることなく生計を立てることができたのできました。
■ 伝統 亜麻の栽培とリネンの生産は何世紀にもわたってフランスの文化の一部であり多くのユグノーがこの産業に精通し技術や知識を持っていたため、この産業で働くのに適していました。
■ 革新性。ユグノーはリネン製造を含むさまざまな産業において、その技術と革新性で知られていました。ユグノーの織物職人の多くは新しい技術やイノベーションを持ち込みフランスのリネン産業を発展させ、他国との競争力を高めるのに貢献しました。
■ 地理 ユグノーの多くは、ノルマンディーやピカルディなどリネン生産が盛んな地域に定住しました。これらの地域はリネン生産の長い伝統がありユグノーがリネン産業で仕事を続けるには理想的な環境でした。


Mulquinerie is a term that refers to the process of preparing and spinning flax fibers into linen yarn. It is a critical step in the linen production process, as it helps to create the fine, strong yarn that is used to make linen fabric.The term “mulquinier” originally referred to someone who operated a tool known as a “mulquin,” which was used to separate and align flax fibers. Over time, the term “mulquinerie” came to refer to the entire process of preparing flax fibers for spinning.
The relationship between mulquinerie and linen is that the mulquinerie process is a critical step in the production of linen fabric. After the flax fibers have been separated and aligned using a mulquin or similar tool, they are spun into yarn, which is then used to weave linen fabric. The quality of the linen fabric depends on the quality of the yarn, which in turn depends on the quality of the flax fibers and the skill of the mulquinier in preparing them for spinning. Therefore, the mulquinerie process is an essential component of the linen production process and a key factor in the quality of the final product.
Le Tisserand 1888 Paul Sérusier
Mulquinerie, is a landmark of French sartorial heritage and high craftsmanship, is the art of weaving and trading fine fabrics composed exclusively of linen: whether plain flax cloth, ‘linon’ or batiste. A ‘mulquinier’ was the artisan textile designer and weaver as well as the merchant of canvases. The mulquiniers were not only a subcategorization of the tisserand(e) artists (hand loom weavers; French pronunciation: [tisʀɑ̃]) but were also the traders of their own craft. This activity was predominantly developed within villages as a substantial rural proto-industry, hence mulquiniers working on métiers à tisser in their home’ basement while breathing from “bahottes” or “blocures” to obtain the most propitious humidity levels.
Mulquinerie originated in the 17th and 18th centuries from metropolitan France’s Northern Departments now constituting the Hauts-de-France region (French pronunciation: [o d(ə) fʁɑ̃s], translating to “Upper France” in English; Picard: Heuts-d’Franche),following the territorial reform of French Regions (2014) from a merger of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy. The activity was ubiquitous in the towns of the former Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin, the Cambrésis sub-province or the Thiérache including Saint-Vaast-en-Cambrésis, Saint-Hilaire-lez-Cambrai, Haspres, Saint-Quentin or Neuvilly. This also included Caudry, the medieval capital city of French lace, which remains (in collaboration with Calais) the only town in France where lace is still made.
Etymologically, ‘mulquinier’ is derived from the Germanic term “mollquin” meaning ‘thin canvas’. First traces of the term are encountered in the ‘Charter of the mulquiniers of Valenciennes’ in 1413 through the use of the term ‘molekinier’. Among the oldest mulquinerie ancestries are the Lecygne and Legueil families tracing back beyond the 17th century being fabric dyers, textile artists, embroiderers, patternmakers or hand-spinners.
The Huguenots played an important role in the linen industry, which was closely linked to the production of religious artefacts such as Holy Shroud & Holy Casket.

マルキニエとは、フランスのサルトリアの伝統と高い職人技を象徴するもので、リネン(亜麻布、リノン、バティスト)のみを使った高級織物を織り取引する技術です。マルキニエとは、織物デザイナー、織物職人、そしてキャンバスの商人を意味します。マルキニエは、ティセラン(手織り職人)であるだけでなく、自分たちの工芸品を販売する商人でもあった。この活動は農村の原産産業として主に村の中で発展したため、mulquiniersは自宅の地下室で「bahottes」や「blocures」から最適な湿度を得ながらmétiers à tisserに取り組んでいました。ミュルキネリーは、17世紀から18世紀にかけて、現在のオー・ド・フランス地方を構成するフランス北部諸県を起源とする。語源的には、「マルキニエ」はゲルマン語で「薄いキャンバス」を意味する「mollquin」に由来する。この用語の最初の痕跡は、1413年の「ヴァランシエンヌのマルキニエ憲章」の中で、「モルキニエ」という用語の使用を通じて確認できる。最も古いマルキニエの家系の中には、17世紀以降、染色家、織物作家、刺繍師、パターンメーカー、手紡ぎ師として活躍してきたレシーニュ家とルゲイル家系がある。

Huguenots and linen in Ireland
The Huguenots were French Protestants who arrived in Ireland to escape religious persecution in the wake of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 by King Louis XIV, although there were previous but smaller settlements before then. Famed for their well-honed trades and skills, the Huguenots excelled as bankers, goldsmiths and textile-workers. The Irish linen industry was still in its nascent stage when the French arrived, to be quickly transformed by the initial weaving community they established in Lisburn, Co. Antrim. The fine linen they produced was to became world-renowned.
Most importantly, this led to a technological exodus of industry from France.


German folklore is replete with images associated with flax and its production processes. Ancient stories, such as Sleeping Beauty (think of the spinning wheel) and Rumplestiltskin (the King’s demand that the miller’s daughter spin straw into gold) tell of the important role that flax and the tools used to turn it into linen played in the lives of the European people.For the farm families of yesteryear, linen was needed to provide clothing and bedding as well as grain sacks and other items necessary for farm work. Most of the backbreaking work in making linen was performed by women, as portrayed in the pictures below, taken from a German Almanac published in 1882.
Step 1 – Pulling
Flax was sown in March or April. It was a fast growing plant that grew about 40 inches tall. Sometime during August, when the plants’ color turned to a golden hue, the plants were ready for harvest. In order to produce the best quality linen possible, the fiber had to be hand harvested by either pulling the whole plant by the root or by cutting the stalks very close to the ground.
Step 2 – Separating
After the harvest, flax seeds were removed through a process called “rippling”. During this process the plant stalks were pulled through a rippling comb, which was an iron or wooden device that was studded with nails for the easy removal of seeds and other undesirable plant elements.
Step 3 – Retting
To dissolve the pectin, which binds the plant fibers together, the remaining flax stalks had to be rotted or “retted”. This could be achieved periodically, to allow the dew to accomplish the rotting process. A faster way to decompose the pectin was to submerge the stalks deep into the local pond and weigh them down with heavy objects, such as stones or logs. With this method, the retting took just a few days.
Step 4 – Drying
In late August or early September, after the plants were retted and retrieved, the farmers tied them into small bundles and laid them out in the open fields to dry. This was done to bring the rotting process of the fibers to an end. Retting the flax stalks too long would render them brittle and unsuitable for textile production.
Step 5 – Roasting
When the weather was damp, it was often necessary to roast the flax in special ovens at very low temperatures until it was dry.
Step 6 – Breaking
After drying, the flax was ready for “scutching”, also called the “swinging” process. Small bundles of stalks were dragged in a swinging motion across a nail-spiked board to remove the woody parts of the fibers. At this time, only the long, soft flax strands remained, which were twisted into braids, ready to be spun. When the work was done, the young people of the village would meet for an evening of play and dance, the so-called “swing dances”.

Flemish linen has a long and rich history that dates back to the Middle Ages, when Flanders was one of the most prosperous and influential regions in Europe. The region that is now Flanders includes parts of modern-day Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, and has long been known for its flax cultivation and linen production.The earliest known evidence of linen production in Flanders dates back to the 11th century, and by the 12th and 13th centuries, Flanders had become a major center of linen production in Europe. The linen produced in Flanders was renowned for its quality and was highly prized by royalty, aristocrats, and the wealthy elite throughout the continent.

The production of Flemish linen was a complex and labor-intensive process that involved several stages. First, flax was grown and harvested, then the fibers were separated and processed through a process called retting, which involved soaking the flax in water to break down the fibers. The fibers were then spun into yarn and woven into fabric, which was finished and bleached to achieve the signature white color and smooth texture that was characteristic of Flemish linen. Flemish linen was used for a wide range of purposes, including clothing, bedding, table linens, and curtains. It was also used to create tapestries, which were a popular form of art and decoration in the Middle Ages.

The linen industry in Flanders reached its peak in the 16th and 17th centuries, when the region was part of the Spanish Netherlands. During this time, the linen industry was closely regulated by the government, and the quality of Flemish linen was maintained at a very high level. However, the industry began to decline in the 18th century, due in part to competition from other European countries.

There is a historical connection between the woollen and linen industries in the Flanders region. Both industries were important sources of wealth and employment in the region, and they often relied on similar resources and production techniques. For example, both industries relied on locally grown flax and wool as their primary raw materials. In addition, many of the tools and machines used in both industries were similar or interchangeable, such as spinning wheels and looms.

In some cases, textile workers in Flanders were skilled in both woollen and linen production, and would switch between the two industries depending on demand and market conditions. This was particularly true in the 16th and 17th centuries, when the region’s textile industry was at its peak. There was also some cross-pollination between the two industries in terms of design and style. For example, Flemish tapestries, which were often made from wool, were known for their intricate designs and vibrant colors, and some of these same design elements were used in linen production as well. The production of Flemish linen was a complex and labor-intensive process that involved several stages. First, flax was grown and harvested, then the fibers were separated and processed through a process called retting, which involved soaking the flax in water to break down the fibers. The fibers were then spun into yarn and woven into fabric, which was finished and bleached to achieve the signature white color and smooth texture that was characteristic of Flemish linen. Flemish linen was used for a wide range of purposes, including clothing, bedding, table linens, and curtains. It was also used to create tapestries, which were a popular form of art and decoration in the Middle Ages.

Flanders in the seventeenth century—its early predominance was lost when the Irish linen industry took off in the 1780s.
Belgian Linen

Belgium has a rich history of linen production, dating back thousands of years. The region’s temperate climate and fertile soil were well-suited for growing flax, the primary raw material used in linen production, and the area became known for the high quality of its linen fabrics. Linen production in Belgium began in earnest in the Middle Ages, with Flanders and Bruges becoming major centers of the industry. Flemish weavers were known for their skill in creating complex patterns and designs in their textiles, and their linen fabrics were highly sought after throughout Europe.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, Belgium’s linen industry experienced a period of growth and expansion, thanks in part to the development of new techniques and machinery for processing flax and weaving linen. This period saw the emergence of large-scale linen factories, particularly in the Ghent and Courtrai regions, and the industry became an important source of employment and economic growth for the region. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Belgium’s linen industry faced increasing competition from other countries, particularly Ireland and Northern France. However, many Belgian linen producers continued to innovate and develop new techniques, and the industry remained an important part of the country’s economy.

Today, Belgium is still known for its high-quality linen fabrics, particularly in the area of home textiles and interior design. The country is home to a number of small-scale linen producers who use traditional techniques and high-quality materials to create beautiful, durable linen fabrics.


Belgian Linen is a registered trademark of the Belgian Flax and Linen Association, a trade association that represents over 1,500 artisans and companies that grow and transform flax in Belgium. Since 1960, the association oversees and coordinates the Belgian Linen trademark. There are strict limitations on the use of the label: it has to match a set of quality standards and a certificate can be obtained only by Belgian companies. These standards include that at least 85% of the product by weight contains natural vegetable flax fibres of European Union-origin.
During World War 2, flax was a valuable raw material. Due to its strength, the fabric was very convenient for the army (sails for trucks and trains, tents, uniforms,..). After the war, there was a scarcity of flax as the lands were mainly used for the cultivation of food. There was a shortage of flax and the fiber became very expensive. The Belgian linen weavers formed ‘The Federation of Belgian Linen Weavers’. In this way, they could distribute the available flax among each other, and every weaver had the same opportunities. During that period, André Dequae was appointed as secretary, a position he would keep for 40 years.


André Dequae was a native of Kortrijk and belonged to a family of flax cultivators. Later, he was known as a successful politician, with several nominations such as minister in the Belgian government. However, Dequae always kept an eye on the evolution of the flax fiber in the textile market. Partly due to the rise of flax within the Soviet Union, the (European) weavers formed an association to promote themselves internationally. On April 20, 1950, the ‘Confédération Internationale du Lin et du Chanvre’ (CILC) was created. The aim of this confederation was to bring together people of the flax industry from different countries, create guidelines and coordinate the promotion of European linen all over the world. In the same period, the Belgian flax association decided to do the same. Together they set up a ‘Flax Office’ in Brussels.
アンドレ・デケエはコルトレイク出身で、亜麻栽培の家系でした。その後ベルギー政府の大臣に就任するなど政治家としても成功したことで知られています。しかしデクエは常に繊維市場における亜麻繊維の進化に目を光らせていました。ソビエト連邦内での亜麻の台頭もあり、(ヨーロッパの)織物業者は国際的なプロモーションのために協会を結成しました。1950年4月20日、「国際亜麻織物連盟(Confédération Internationale du Lin et du Chanvre)」(CILC)が設立されました。この連盟の目的は各国の亜麻産業関係者を集めガイドラインを作成、世界中でヨーロッパのリネンを宣伝するための調整を行うことでした。同じ頃ベルギーの亜麻協会も賛同し彼らは共にブリュッセルに「フラックス(亜麻)オフィス」を設立しました。
By the early 1970s, the flax office had grown into a real organization with several agents worldwide and a head office in Brussels. In New York, there was an office that promoted Belgian flax under the name ‘Belgian Linen Association’. Since then, ‘Belgian Linen’ became a brand name. After the death of Pierre Bodson in the early 1980s, Stefaan Devies took over his function as general manager. In the following years, the Flax Office helped to promote flax through various events. The CICL organized ‘Fil d’OR’, an event that took place several times: in 1985 and 1987 in Monte Carlo and in 1989 in Paris. During this event, young designers were able to compete with each other to participate in a fashion show, attended by international press. The office coordinated the various entries by Belgian and Dutch designers together with the ITCB (Institut de Textile et Confection Belge).
1970年代初頭には、亜麻オフィスは世界中に複数のエージェントを持ち、ブリュッセルに本社を置く本格的な組織へと成長していきます。ニューヨークには、「ベルギーリネン協会」という名称でベルギー産亜麻のプロモーションを行うオフィスがありました。それ以来、「ベルギーリネン」はブランド名となります。1980年代前半にPierre Bodsonが亡くなると、Stefaan Deviesが彼の機能を引き継ぎ、ゼネラルマネージャーとなりました。その後数年間、亜麻オフィスは様々なイベントを通じて亜麻の普及に貢献しました。CICLは、1985年と1987年にモンテカルロで、1989年にはパリで、数回にわたって「Fil d’OR(フィル・ドール)」というイベントを開催。このイベントで若手デザイナーが互いに競い合いながら、国際的なプレスも出席するファッションショーに参加することができたのです。ベルギーとオランダのデザイナーによるさまざまなエントリーを、ITCB(Institut de Textile et Confection Belge)と共にコーディネートしました。
In the early 1990s, the European Union provided subsidies for the promotion of European textiles and federations within European countries began to unite. In 1995, the Flax Office ended all promotional activities and the CILC took over this task. That same year, the CILC changed its name to CELC (Conféderation Européenne du Lin et du Chanvre). Under this new name, a label was created for all members: Masters of Linen. Despite the new European label, Belgian Linen remains a reliable reference for processors of linen fabrics. To this day, the label enjoys special status, especially in the United States. The management of the Belgian Linen label remained in the hands of the association behind the Flax Office. In 1999, the Flax Office became the ‘Belgian Flax and Linen Association’, and its management was transferred to Fedustria.
1990年代初頭、欧州連合(EU)が欧州の繊維製品の振興に補助金を出し、欧州各国内の連盟が結束し始めました。1995年、亜麻事務局はすべてのプロモーション活動を終了し、CILCがこの任務を引き継いだ。同年、CILCはCELC(Conféderation Européenne du Lin et du Chanvre)と名称を変更します。この新しい名称のもと、全メンバーのためのラベルが作られた。マスターズ・オブ・リネン(MASTERS OF LINEN)」である。ベルギーリネンは、ヨーロッパの新しいラベルにもかかわらずリネン生地の加工業者にとって信頼できる基準であることに変わりはありません。今日でも、このラベルは特に米国で特別な地位を占めています。ベルギーリネンラベルの管理は、Flax Officeを支える協会の手に委ねられた。1999年、亜麻局は「ベルギー亜麻・リネン協会」となり、その運営はフェデュストリアに移管されました。
The history of Irish linen dates back to at least the 17th century, when the flax plant, which is the primary raw material used in linen production, began to be cultivated in Ireland. At the time, Ireland was part of the British Empire, and the linen industry was heavily regulated and controlled by the British government.
Louis Crommelin was a Huguenot weaver who played a significant role in the development of the Irish linen industry in the 18th century. Crommelin had been involved in the linen industry in France, but he fled to Ireland in 1698 to escape religious persecution. In Ireland, Crommelin helped to establish the linen industry in the north of the country, particularly in the area around Lisburn. He introduced new weaving techniques and machinery, and helped to train local workers in the art of weaving high-quality linen fabrics.
Despite these challenges, the linen industry in Ireland grew and expanded in the 18th and 19th centuries, thanks in part to the development of new techniques and machinery for processing flax and weaving linen. Irish linen became known for its exceptional quality and durability, and it was exported throughout Europe and around the world. During this time, many Irish linen producers became skilled in the art of creating complex patterns and designs in their fabrics, and Irish linen became known for its intricate weaves, lustrous finish, and soft feel.
he linen industry in Ireland faced some challenges in the 20th century, particularly during the two world wars and the Great Depression, which led to a decline in demand for luxury fabrics. However, many Irish linen producers continued to innovate and develop new types of linen fabrics, including lightweight and sheer linens, which were well-suited for warmer climates.Today, Irish linen remains a symbol of quality and craftsmanship, and it is still highly regarded by textile experts and enthusiasts around the world. Many Irish linen producers continue to use traditional techniques and high-quality materials to create some of the world’s finest linen fabrics, and the industry remains an important part of Ireland’s cultural and economic heritage.
William Hincks: The Linen Industry:




Louis Crommelin
Samuel-Louis Louis Crommelin (1652–1727) was a French Huguenot exile, who became director of an Irish linen business.

Crommelin was born in May 1652 at Armandcourt, near Saint-Quentin in Picardy, into a family of landowners with a tradition of growing flax; his father, Louis Crommelin, married in 1648 to Marie Mettayer, was wealthy and had four sons, Samuel-Louis, Samuel, William, and Alexander. Samuel-Louis Crommelin, called Louis, was in business flax-spinning and linen-weaving. The family was Protestant, and the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 hit hard even though Louis was a Catholic convert of 1683. With his son and two daughters he made his way to Amsterdam. There he became partner in a bank, and was joined by his brothers Samuel and William.

Under William III and Mary II, Thomas Southwell had access to funds to develop Irish industry. Huguenot linen-workers had been encouraged to settle at Lisburn where already there was some manufacture of linen. In 1696 the English parliament passed an act admitting all products of hemp and flax duty free from Ireland to England; the Irish parliament in November 1697 passed an act for fostering the linen manufacture. William III’s policy was to discourage the Irish woollen trade, but to build up linen manufacture there. Crommelin was the most prominent Huguenot attracted by Southwell. He arrived at Lisburn in the autumn of 1698, and made recommendations for improving the linen industry in a memorial of 16 April 1699; which were implemented quickly. Crommelin was made “overseer of the royal linen manufacture of Ireland”, and lent money for the scheme. In 1702 Queen Anne confirmed its royal patent.
Crommelin began by ordering looms from Flanders and Holland, and Huguenot weavers were introduced. He adopted Irish spinning-wheel but worked to improve it. His maker of the reeds, which control the warp threads, was Henry Mark du Pré (d. 1750), of Cambrai.Baron Conway gave a site for weaving workshops, and Irish apprentices were taken on. Dutchmen were engaged to teach flax-growing to farmers, and to superintend bleaching operations. It is not without some reason that Crommelin has been credited with originating, as regards Ulster, a system of technical education for the textile art. Crommelin was assisted by his brothers, and the linens and cambrics could replace imported textiles. In 1705 a factory was opened at Kilkenny, under the management of William Crommelin.Crommelin expanded operations, with the manufacture of hempen sailcloth at Rathkeale and other locations. He was given a pension in 1716, and died at Lisburn on 14 July 1727, aged 75. He was buried, with other Huguenots, in the eastern corner of the graveyard of Lisburn Cathedral.

クロンメランは1652年5月、ピカルディーのサン・カンタンに近いアルマンドコートで、亜麻栽培の伝統を持つ地主の家に生まれました。父のルイ・クロンメランは1648年にマリー・メッタイヤーと結婚し、裕福でサミュエル=ルイ、サミュエル、ウィリアム、アレクサンダーの4人の息子を持ちます。ルイと呼ばれるサミュエル=ルイ・クロンメリンは亜麻紡績とリネン織りを業としていました。ルイは1683年にカトリックに改宗したが、一家はプロテスタントであり、1685年のナントの勅令の廃止は大きな痛手となりました。息子と二人の娘を連れてルイはアムステルダムに向かった。そこで銀行の共同経営者となり兄弟のサミュエルとウィリアムと合流した。ウィリアム3世とメアリー2世のもと、トーマス・サウスウェルはアイルランドの産業を発展させるための資金を得ることができました。当時ユグノー教徒のリネン労働者はすでにリネンの製造が行われていたリスバーンに移住するよう奨励されていました。1696年、イギリス議会は、アイルランドからイギリスへの麻と亜麻の全製品を無税で受け入れる法律を可決し、アイルランド議会は1697年11月にリネン製造の育成に関する法律を可決します。ウィリアム3世は、アイルランドの毛織物貿易を奨励する一方でリネン製造業の育成を図る政策をとりました。 クロンメリンはサウスウェルが引き入れた最も著名なユグノーでした。 彼は1698年の秋にリスバーンに到着し1699年4月16日の追悼文でリネン産業の改善について提言しすぐに実行されることになりました。クロメリンは「アイルランド王立リネン製造監督官」に任命されこの計画に資金を確保しました。1702年アン女王はその勅許を確認。クロンメリンはまずフランドルやオランダから織機を取り寄せユグノー族の織工を導入しました。初期に彼はアイルランドの紡ぎ車を採用しますがその改良に努めます。縦糸を制御する筬の製作者は、カンブライのアンリ・マルク・デュ・プレ(1750年没)でした。コンウェイ男爵は織物工房の敷地を提供しアイルランド人の徒弟が採用されました。オランダ人は農民に亜麻の栽培を教え漂白作業の監督をするよう命じられました。クロンメリンがアルスター地方で織物技術教育のシステムを作り上げたとされるのにはそれなりの理由があったということです。クロンメリンは兄弟に助けられ、リネンやキャンブリックが輸入繊維に取って代わることができました。1705年、William Crommelinの経営により、キルケニーに工場が開設されます。Crommelinは事業を拡大し、Rathkealeや他の場所でも麻の帆布を製造するようになりました。1716年に年金が支給され、1727年7月14日にリスバーンで75歳で死去。彼は他のユグノーと共にリスバーン大聖堂の墓地の東の隅に埋葬されました。

The Irish Linen Guild’s main concern is with yarns and fabrics made in Ireland from flax. Founded in 1928, the Guild is the official promotional organisation of the Irish Linen industry. The Irish Linen Guild is the global authority on Irish linen and the owner of the Irish Linen Guild trademark.
Linen production has a long history in China, dating back to at least 4,000 years ago. The earliest known Chinese linen textiles were discovered in the Henan province and date back to the Neolithic period. Throughout China’s history, linen has been used for clothing, bedding, and various household items. In ancient times, the production of linen was primarily a manual process, but during the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE), mechanical methods were developed to increase production. The mechanized with the development of spinning wheels and looms (for silk), which allowed for increased production and higher quality textiles. By the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE), linen production had become a major industry, with large-scale linen workshops and specialized linen markets
Today, Xilinhot in Inner Mongolia is one of the largest centers for linen production in China, with many small workshops and factories producing high-quality linen textiles. Linen is used for a variety of products in China, including clothing, bedding, and household items such as tablecloths and curtains.
established : 1980
ADDRESS : 34 Wigmore St, London