The Copts: Coptic Art in Egypt for over 2000 years
On the occasion of Coptic Christmas on January 7, the Egyptian Museum has dedicated an edition to shed light on the splendor of Coptic art. Thus, a few pieces have been exhibited to highlight the greatness of this art. In addition, these works are presented through six pieces. In the foreground, an icon presenting in its center a representation of the Virgin Mary carrying the child Jesus, who is the most important aspect of the Virgin. A second icon presents in its center the image of Christ with two saints at his side. However above each character are written their name, one meaning peace, while the other means light.
Pharaonic influences are omnipresent: Christians seem to have followed their pagan heritage. We frequently find the cross of life Ankh, which will be recovered by Christians as a religious symbol. There are also many so-called “Nilotic” representations. Also they are the continuity of the cult of the Nile river, source of life for the whole of Egypt. They are therefore represented in many putty playing in the bushes or in the water, fishing scenes etc.
Although largely Christian, Egypt will continue to reuse many pagan themes, mostly from Greco-Roman mythology. As the pagan decorations are even in the majority, the Christian decorations strictly speaking are relatively rare.
The importance of these influences should not make us lose sight of the fact that Coptic art is an original art, with its own characteristics.