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Coptic Textiles (LIHS & F.B. Pratt Collections)

DATES Spring 1929 through date unknown, 1929
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  • February 1, 1929: The Brooklyn Museum is showing an unusually large collection of Coptic textiles of rare quality that are extremely useful to students of textiles and designers who are looking tor inspiration from original sources of patterns and motifs. The collection, which is shown in 59 frames under glass with one to four specimens per frame, consists of a loan by Mr. Frederic B. Pratt, a group of fragments donated by the Long Island Historical Society and some specimens from the Museum's permanent collection. The exhibition is installed on the mezannine of the eastern side of the Rainbow Gallery in the new wing and will be on view for several months.

    The Copts were inhabitants of Egypt who were converted to Christianity at the time St. Mark was supposed to have preached his Gospel about 70 A.D. Their taking up of the new religion is definitely reflected in many of the motifs and designs in the textiles. On the other hand, several of the pieces show the influence of the Greco-Roman period in Egypt. The exhibits on view range in date from 300 to 100 A.D.

    Like most pieces of fabric which come out of Egyptian tombs, many of the examples show decay, principally around the edges. They are considered valuable and exhibited not so much for the weaving, which in itself is of interest to textile students, but for the remarkably beautiful designs which were produced in those days and for the glorious color that has persisted for nearly 2000 years. They have had the benefit of being sealed in tombs, which accounts for their present state, even though they were found lying on the ground in many instances.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1916 - 1930. 01-03/1929, 016. View Original