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Creator Name: Unknown
Creator Nationality: African; North African; Egyptian
Creator Role: Sculptor
Creator Name-CRT: Artist unknown
Title: Figure of a ram
Creation Start Date: 400
Creation End Date: 499
Creation Date: 5th century
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: Limestone
Dimensions: H.10-3/4 x W.26-1/2 x D.5 in.
AMICA Contributor: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Owner Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
ID Number: 62.53
Credit Line: The William Hood Dunwoody Fund
From the third to the seventh centuries A.D., an isolated form of Christianity, known as Coptic, flourished in the Nile Valley. The Coptic cult retained many of the rituals of the ancient Egyptian religion, particularly those relating to resurrection in Osiris worship. This sculpture illustrates the co-existence of Christian and pagan symbolism in Coptic art. A primary emblem of Christ in his role as a sacrificial victim, the ram was also regarded as the embodiment of the Egyptian sun god, Amon-Re. As Aries, the first sign in the Zodiac, and as an attribute of the Roman god Mars, the ram was associated in classical mythology with the renewal of the agricultural cycle in spring.
This work is a fragment, possible of a pulpit or lintel, from a religious structure such as a church or monastery. Its simplified, nearly abstract form illustrates the stylistic movement away from naturalistic rendering in Coptic art. Artisans used a deep carving technique to create strong contrasts of light and shadow and to enhance the figure's effectiveness as an architectural decoration.
AMICA ID: MIA_.62.53
Component Measured: overall
Measurement Unit: in
AMICA Library Year: 2001
Media Metadata Rights:
?The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
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