Decorative Coptic Textile Band with Geometric Motifs

£ 350.00

A large Egyptian Coptic textile fragment of a decorative band, woven in black and red wool onto coarse, unbleached linen. The fragment features several friezes of geometric patterns, all separated by thick black lines. The piece comprises of two arcaded trefoil borders, enclosing a frieze of geometric patterns including alternating red and ecru lozenges. Along the side, next to the boarder, is a false braid, also known as a soumak weave.

Date: Circa 7th-10th century AD
Provenance: From the collection of a London ancient art specialist; from a collection acquired in the 1970s and 1980s.
Condition: Very fine condition, details are highly visible on the band and the original red dye is still very vibrant on the wool.


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.

Weight 71.1 g
Dimensions W 68 x H 14 cm




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