Arabesque Decorated Coptic Roundel


A beautiful Coptic coarse and brown wool roundel, featuring an intricate arabesque decoration with four medallions, each one framing the depiction of a dancer. To the centre a medallion holds the figure of a male rider, displayed advancing to the right while holding up a ceremonial weapon. Floral motives and zoomorphic figures fill the empty spaces around the medallions.

Date: Circa 4th-6th century AD
Provenance: Property of a London gentleman; part of a Mayfair collection formed in the 1970s and 1980s.
Condition: Extremely fine with clear and visible details. The fragment is mounted on a new piece of linen, for better preservation.

In stock

This fragment was likely part of a tunic, the most common Coptic garment.

During the Early Coptic period (3rd – 4th centuries AD), the primary decorative themes were taken from nature and Classical mythology and were certainly also influenced by Roman iconology. By the Middle Coptic period (5th – 7th centuries AD), depictions included abstract natural elements and Christian symbolism.

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. This beautiful Coptic textile managed to survive thanks to the dry and hot desert climate.

Weight 29.7 g
Dimensions W 22.5 x H 24 cm




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