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HOME : Egyptian Antiquities : Coptic Art : Coptic Textile Fragment
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Coptic Textile Fragment - PF.2111
Origin: Egypt
Circa: 4 th Century AD to 7 th Century AD
Dimensions: 8" (20.3cm) high x 7" (17.8cm) wide
Collection: Egyptian
Medium: Textile

Location: United States
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For centuries, the native weavers of Egypt were famous for the richness of their work. Using intricate patterns and vivid colors, Coptic weavers created masterpieces of textile art. Coptic textiles, used for rugs, wall hangings and clothing appliques, were exported throughout the Roman and Byzantine Empires. However, the finest surviving examples come from Egypt itself, where a dry climate has preserved the delicate fabric. Intimate in scale yet monumental in vision, these woven pictures speak of a world alive with color and movement. This large and stunning fragment, worked in rich reds and browns, depicts the front half of a rearing horse. The wave under its feet suggests that it is a hippocamp, a horse with a fish tail, most likely being ridden by a triton, a sea god. Such a textile might once have belonged to a wealthy individual in the twilight of the Classical Age. Its vigorous energy makes us wonder if such creatures really did roam the world at that time. - (PF.2111)


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