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.
Coptic Fabric Fragment with Horse Riders
A fine Coptic tapestry fragment of a dark burned brown and ochre colour.
The fragment is beautifully decorated with a central medallion to which a wavy vine forms four smaller medallions, two on each side.
The central medallion is embellished with the depiction of a bearded centaur, shown holding a flying scarf and a shield. On the remaining four medallions, bearded male figures are depicted while riding a horse, or more likely a donkey, and holding what appears to be like a cerimonial item.
Floral motives and zoomorphic figures fill the empty spaces around the medallions.
Condition: Fine with some signs of aging on the surface.