Seller: sphinx1150 (1,701) 100%, Location: Markham, Ontario, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 361190246011 53COP) An exquisite Coptic textile fragment with colorful flowers Description : An exquisite Coptic textile fragment with colorful flowers Metrics : CA : 8 X 1.5 inch, 20 X 4 cm Color distribution : Mainly purple and green on a beige background. Configuration : A repetitive pattern of 4 flowers with the stem in green and bud in purple with a purple border on each side. Function : Unknown part of tunic. Subject : Series of flowers. Border : Purple Possible age : ca 4th to 7th cent. (see below) SEE ADDITIONAL PHOTOS BELOW General note about the Stylistic Groups of the Coptic Textiles : It is important to note that there is no clear cut classification of Coptic textiles in terms of chronology/influence and style that allows to date a certain fragment with any kind of certainty; The following classification however was borrowed from the website of the department of Anthropology at the California Academy of science, which I found to be the most useful in dating such pieces using style and technique criteria historically verifiable from Egyptian history. Here is their website : http://researcharchive.calacademy.org/research/anthropology/coptic/index.html I-Third to Fifth Centuries: Greco-Roman and Egyptian Influences : Coptic textiles are distinguishable from earlier Egyptian textiles in that they do not use many of the well-defined motifs characteristic of Egyptian design. Coptic textiles do not use the lotus and papyrus motifs, nor do they feature the ancient style of figures with heads and limbs in profile view and torsos in frontal view. Instead, the stylized figures tend to be fully frontal as well as disproportionate, with short bodies and large heads. The earliest Coptic textile ornaments tend to be monochromatic geometrical designs, usually purple designs on a plain linen background. The textile ornaments are characterized by having mainly Classical/Hellenistic design motifs. The replacement of Egyptian design motifs with Classical motifs is due to the influential three hundred years of Greek rule under the Ptolemies. Monasteries and churches also utilized Hellenistic and Roman design elements in their sculptures and paintings. Some Egyptians had belief systems based upon the Greek myths as well, which also may explain the occurrence of Greek mythological themes. One mythological theme that was popular was that of Dionysus. The Cult of Dionysus had a following in Hellenistic Egypt, because Dionysus was easily identified with Osiris. Both Dionysus and Osiris had a godly father and an earthly mother. These similarities were also shared between Dionysus and Christ. The ivy and vine motif was symbolic of the cult of Dionysus, because he was the god of wine, and was also the Christian symbol of immortality. II-Fifth to Mid-Seventh Centuries: Byzantine and Syrian Influences : In the fourth and fifth centuries, textiles began to show ornamental variation including naturalistic representations of birds, flowers, fruits, and mythological figures. Egyptian weavers studied in Persia during the Sassanian kingdom, and brought back the motifs of opposing horsemen and facing peacocks. This group of textiles show a wide variety of influences, including Byzantine and Syrian. The Byzantine government repressed craftsmen, including weavers, by controlling marriages, wages, and not allowing change of profession. Yet despite of these harsh measures, the textile industry continued to prosper. During the Byzantine period, monochrome textile ornaments continued to be used. These ornaments featured designs that represented figures as well as abstract designs. Beginning in the 6th century, multi-colored tapestries, which had previously only been used to decorate hangings, were used as ornaments on clothing. The textiles in this period are characterized by bold coloring and the abundance of small superfluous motifs. The figures tend to be more proportioned, with large eyes. While there was a general set of motifs common to weavers, patrons could also apparently make requests for certain designs, which allowed them to make individualized personal statements. At the end of the Byzantine era, Persians briefly ruled Egypt, and presented new designs like stylized plants and wing-like palmettes. III-Mid-Seventh to Eleventh Centuries: Islamic Influence : After the Arabic conquest, the Copts continued to produce the same types of textiles. But the Arabs gradually took control of the textile industry as well as trade. The Arabs placed the Copts under harsher regulations which denied the Copts certain privileges and forced them to wear yellow or orange colored clothing to distinguish them. Women began to wear more clothing to cover their bodies more fully. Weavers worked under poor conditions, received low wages, and low status due to these governmental controls.The Koranic intolerance of figurative images also influenced the weavers. As time passed, the Coptic textiles became less classical and more Arabic in design: they were more abstract, and there was less use of figures. Eventually, Egyptian textiles became completely Arabic in style. 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