Coptic textiles, whose production began in the 3rd and 4th centuries AD in Egypt, were hand woven with unbleached linen warps and dyed wool wefts. The majority that have survived, were used to decorate tunics; a clothing staple of the time. Influenced by a fusion of cultures and history, Coptic textiles evolved with history. During the Early Coptic period (3rd – 4th centuries AD), the primary decorative themes were taken from nature and Classical mythology, with Hellenistic tradition still popular. By the Middle Coptic period (5th – 7th centuries AD), depictions included abstract natural elements and Christian symbolism. The third period of textiles refers to the period of Islamic dominance, when the Copts were still able to survive despite their oppression.
Coptic Textile Strip with Dancers and Zoomorphic Motifs
An Egyptian Coptic textile fragment woven in black wool onto coarse, unbleached linen. The fragment of material features a single band of decorative design. It is composed of two arcaded trefoil borders, enclosing alternating circular medallions and vases with curved stems, each holding dancing human figures or animals, possibly hares and birds. The design is enriched with fine floral motifs in the empty spaces, acting as filler ornaments.
Period: Coptic Period
Condition: Very fine. The level of detail and complexity is fine and well preserved. Signs of ageing on the surface.
|Dimensions||L 26.4 x W 9.5 cm|
Reference: For similar: The British Museum, London, item OA.736