Coptic Textile Fragment with Zoomorphic Decoration
A finely detailed Ancient Coptic textile fragment, embroidered in dark brown woollen threads, on a ochre background. This beautiful piece, most likely part of a tunic, one of the most common Coptic type of garments, is framed by a crenelated border and displays a floral and zoomorphic decoration, comprising depictions of plants and aquatic creatures.
Date: Circa 4th-6th century AD Provenance: Ex an important central London collection; previously acquired before 1990. Condition: Extremely fine with clear and visible details.
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.
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