Frieze Fragment with Leda and the Swan
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
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.
4th-5th century C.E., with 20th century alterations
Late Antique Period
8 13/16 x 12 1/16 x 3 1/16 in. (22.4 x 30.7 x 7.8 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
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Coptic. Frieze Fragment with Leda and the Swan, 4th-5th century C.E., with 20th century alterations. Limestone, painted, 8 13/16 x 12 1/16 x 3 1/16 in. (22.4 x 30.7 x 7.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 55.2.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 55.2.1_PS2.jpg)
overall, 55.2.1_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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