Cotton has also been known for a long time. Even Herodotus, who lived in the 5th century BC, wrote that the inhabitants of India know a plant that gives “wool” instead of fruits, whiter and softer than sheep. In ancient Egypt and ancient Greece, cotton fabrics began to spread only in a later period, and in Western Europe they gained popularity in everyday life for the first time only in the 15th century, when the “procession” of bed linen began in Europe. These were mainly Italian fabrics such as twill and calico, as well as thin, vaguely resembling cambric and muslin. However, oriental cotton fabrics were in particular demand, which was explained by the high level of development of textile production throughout the Arab East. Some existing names of fabrics originated from the names of large medieval textile centers of the East – for example, “muslin” originated from the city of Mossul, “dama” – from the city of Damascus. Cotton bed linen is strong enough (as a rule, they talk about the strength of the fiber to tear and abrasion) and wear-resistant, has good hygienic properties.
Silk (natural) is a product of the vital activity of the silkworm. Silk was not immediately used for the manufacture of bed linen: silk fabrics were known in ancient Egypt and ancient Greece quite late, and in Ancient Rome – from the 1st century AD. In the 4th century, dense silk fabrics covered with woven or embroidered patterns were made in Byzantium, known to the whole world, in particular “golden” fabrics – gold-patterned brocade, and gilded altabas. In Western Europe, silk, which appeared not earlier than the 8th century, was a luxury item. Silk towels were imported and cost fabulously expensive, so they were not yet used for the production of bed linen, but their assortment was quite large: along with softer fabrics such as dama, taffeta, kamka, fulara, crepe, kamlot, heavy brocade was widely used, and since the 16th century – velvet. brocade-type silk fabrics and soft silks began to be exported already in the 10th-13th centuries. Later, velvet (including rubbed and gold), shiny glossy satins (patterned and gold), as well as soft hugs became widespread. Silk bed linen has high elasticity combined with smoothness and good hygienic properties
Flax is the most ancient material, characterized by good thermal conductivity and hydrophilicity, extremely high strength and resistance to stretching. Linen fabrics have a smooth surface and therefore are not susceptible to contamination, they are easily erased. All these qualities, of course, distinguish linen bed linen. The homeland of flax is Egypt. Already 2000 years before our era, various fabrics were produced from flax there – from coarse, dense to the thinnest, translucent. The thickness of the linen thread in them could be such that 240 m of it weighed only 1 gram. Of course, linen was not used immediately as a fabric for bed linen. For example, the famous visson (a luxurious linen fabric of a special kind), even outside Egypt, was used to make loincloth skirts for the pharaohs. During the heyday of ancient Greek culture, linen fabrics also did not lose their popularity and were quite widespread. Linen fabrics were in demand in Assyria, ancient Rome, and Byzantium. In Western Europe, linen fabrics became most widespread in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance, when the emergence of bed linen began. The Scythians who inhabited the southern regions of Russia, along with fur, leather and felt, also valued linen fabrics. In the 19th century, linen fabrics became so widespread that a special article on the punishment for the theft of linen and linen cloth or linen products was included in the judicial regulations. Since the 16th and 17th centuries, flax growing can be considered to have become a national pride