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Stout cloth. Canvas (probably named for cannabis, or hemp), has been made from hemp and flax fibres since ancient times to produce cloth for sails. More recently it has also been made from tow, jute, cotton, and mixtures of such fibres. Flax canvas is essentially of double warp (seeweaving), being invariably intended to withstand pressure or rough usage. Articles made from canvas include camera and golf bags, running shoes, tents, and mailbags. Tarred canvas is used for tarpaulins to cover goods. Artists' canvas for painting is much lighter than sail canvas; those of the best quality are made of cream or bleached flax fibre.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on canvas, visit Britannica.com.