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Round-Topped Stela

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

These two Christian stelae, made after the Arabs conquered Egypt in 642 c.e., reflect new styles from the East. The larger example (71.39.1), which has lost its top section, would have decorated a tomb wall much like the woven wall hangings in homes. Here, exuberant vegetal motifs almost submerge the small crosses. The round-topped stela (69.74.2), which has two lionlike animals in Eastern style and no Christian symbols at all, was made for a woman whose name, Suzanna, indicates that she was Christian. Her father’s name, Pachons, suggest that he was not Christian, a possibility that may explain the lack of Christian imagery here.
MEDIUM Limestone, traces of red paint
  • Place Found: Esna, Egypt
  • DATES 8th century C.E.
    PERIOD Late Antique Egyptian Period
    DIMENSIONS 17 11/16 x 13 3/8 x 3 5/16 in. (45 x 34 x 8.4 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Coptic. Round-Topped Stela, 8th century C.E. Limestone, traces of red paint, 17 11/16 x 13 3/8 x 3 5/16 in. (45 x 34 x 8.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 69.74.2. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, 69.74.2_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2008
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