Relief Frieze


Not on view

A lion and leopard sprint toward the center of this wood lintel, while other animals sit peacefully. Peacocks of paradise guard a gemmed cross between billowing curtains, draped and held behind two columns. A continuous, decorative stem of vines, flowers, and bunches of grapes encircle the animals in six medallions, creating a motif known as rinceau. The original bright blues, pinks, and greens would have enlivened the decoration of the lintel. The artist merged classical motifs that would typically represent prosperity with Christian themes, possibly illustrating a biblical passage (Isaiah 11:6). During the Late Antique period, Christians aspired to a good life.

Relief Frieze, Pinewood with traces of polychromy, Coptic

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