Fragment of a Panel with Brother George the Scribe

8th century
Made in Egypt,, excavated Church of the Archangel Michael, Bawit
Tempera on Ficus sp.
9 13/16 x 15 7/8 x 3/8 in. (25 x 40.3 x 1 cm)
Credit Line:
The Newark Museum, Newark, Purchase 1983 The Members’ Fund (83.42)
Not on view
According to literary tradition, Saint Apollo, "the Equal of the Angels," founded the Monastery of Saint Apollo at Bawit (Deir Abu Abullu) in Middle Egypt in the late fourth century. Today, among the more than ninety-nine acres of ruins, churches are at the heart of the complex surrounded by monastic buildings. The abundance of surviving architectural and painted decorations demonstrates the success of "the angelic life," or monasticism, at the site before it was abandoned in the eleventh century.
This panel, excavated at Bawit, depicts George the scribe, identified by the inscription in Coptic; he displays the scribal tool—a penholder with five reed pens—in front of his left shoulder. The leaf pattern at lower left is one segment of a complete floral pattern like the one on the adjacent panel.
Inscription: [in Coptic:] The scribe [G]eorge
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)," March 12, 2012–July 8, 2012.