Coptic Textile with Mythological Figures


A beautifully rendered Coptic textile fragment featuring depicted mythological figures. To the bottom a nymph is shown riding an animal and holding a scarf upon her head. This figure might refer to Europa, the mythological figure with whom Zeus fell in love. To the centre a winged Erote is depicted while holding ceremonial items. The ground between these figures is finely decorated with zoomorphic and floral motifs, while a geometric decorated border frames the composition. This strip was very likely part of a tunic, the most common garment in Coptic culture.

Date: Circa 3rd-4th century AD
Condition: Very Fine. This ancient fragment has clear interlacing details.


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

To discover more about Coptic textiles, please visit our relevant blog post: Coptic Textiles.

Weight 13 g
Dimensions L 20 x W 10.5 cm