Coptic / Jewelled Cross / 5th century  - 6th centuryCoptic
Jewelled Cross
5th century - 6th century

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Creator Nationality: African; North African; Egyptian
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Name-CRT: Coptic
Title: Jewelled Cross
View: front
Creation Start Date: 400
Creation End Date: 599
Creation Date: 5th century - 6th century
Object Type: Textiles
Classification Term: Embroidered
Materials and Techniques: linen, wool
Dimensions: H.54 x W.27 in. (irregular)
AMICA Contributor: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Owner Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
ID Number: 83.126
Credit Line: The Centennial Fund
Style or Period: Coptic

This cloth was made by a Christian Egyptian weaver to be used as a sanctuary curtain in a Coptic church or possibly a monatery. It was probably used finally as a pall to cover the coffin of an important person and buried with the deceased. Because the Egyptian climate is conducive to textile preservation, the fabric was still in good condition when it was unearthed, probably in this century. Patches where the cloth had been mended can still be seen.

This curtain with its many symbolic images, including a large Latin cross, is among the most important early Christian fabrics that survive today. The combination of a wreath, which was traditionally awarded to winners of competitions, and the cross, which refers to Christ's crucifixion, was meant to remind the viewer of the Christian message of victory over death or the joy of everlasting life.

AMICA ID: MIA_.83.126
Component Measured: overall, irregular
Measurement Unit: in
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: ?The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

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