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Frieze of Animals in Plant Scrolls

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Gallery, 4th Floor
The walls of both pagan and Christian tombs were decorated with friezes, usually composed of twined stems forming loops, which typically enclosed animals. The largest piece here, an unusually fine example, shows predators, possibly a boar and a hyena, chasing an antelope and perhaps a dog. These chases continued to the right, where traces of what may be a spotted leopard remain. Two plant loops on a smaller relief enclose fruits and a fanciful animal. Rather different are two parts of a frieze that featured naked women lounging in front of large plants. The figures have been repainted, but the bird held by one of them must depict the swan form in which the god Jupiter seduced Leda. Thus this frieze must have decorated a pagan monument.
MEDIUM Limestone, pigment
  • Possible Place Made: Herakleopolis Magna, Egypt
  • DATES 4th century C.E.
    PERIOD Roman and Byzantine Periods
    DIMENSIONS 14 3/8 x 50 3/16 x 4 5/8 in., 131 lb. (36.5 x 127.5 x 11.7 cm, 59.42kg)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Gallery, 4th Floor
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Coptic. Frieze of Animals in Plant Scrolls, 4th century C.E. Limestone, pigment, 14 3/8 x 50 3/16 x 4 5/8 in., 131 lb. (36.5 x 127.5 x 11.7 cm, 59.42kg). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 41.1266. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 41.1266_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 41.1266_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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