Fragment from a Coptic Hanging

Not on view

This large rectangular textile incorporates both Roman and Christian imagery. Arcades containing hunters on horseback recall Roman sources, while the roundels with angels are clearly Christian. Similar imagery, such as the baskets of fruit, is found on the wall paintings of Umayyad desert palaces in Syria.
Early textiles such as this, woven by Coptic Christians, have survived the centuries due to the dry climate and the Christian perpetuation of the Egyptian practice of burying the dead in garments sometimes shrouded in large cloth wrappings. Such textiles were woven in well‑organized workshops that continued to function in the early Islamic period.

Fragment from a Coptic Hanging, Linen, wool; plain weave, tapestry-weave

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