Fragment of a Stela


Not on view

In his left hand, the man holds an ancient Egyptian musical instrument called a sistrum. At his side is a vine and above his shoulder is a small hawk standing on an altar. The painting is done in two shades of purple (darker possibly originally black) on a white plaster background.

This piece might be a re-used panel from a Roman-Egyptian coffin. The motifs on the panel, the hawk and sistrum, were used in the ancient Egyptian religion. The panel was sawed down the middle before being put in burial chamber, and the left side was never recovered. The re-use of the traditional Egyptian objects in Christian contexts was a popular practice in the Late Antique/Byzantine period in Egypt.

Fragment of a Stela, Wood, paint, Coptic

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