Coptic Textile Fragment/Medallion
century, Coptic period of Egypt
Embroidered on hand-woven base
6.5 cm diameter roundel
Red, tan, light blue-green and yellow
Extremely well preserved; edges slightly frayed
being handled by male figure,
approaching a female figure holding short crook staff.
Overhead is an angel figure with wings.
It is very rare for
ancient textiles to survive in the
archaeological record because fabrics decompose easily.
Numbers of Coptic textiles have survived because they were
preserved in the dry desert tombs of Egypt.
The term "Copt" originally referred to the native Egyptians,
but later became a religious designation referring to
Christian Egyptians. The Coptic period is considered
to be confined to the first millennium of the Christian era,
when Christianity thrived in Egypt.
Thus, Coptic textiles are the products of the Egyptians,
who may or may not have been Christian,
and who lived in the beginning of the Christian era.
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