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Stela with Glorified Ankhs and Crosses

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, plaster
  • Possible Place Collected: Esna, Egypt
  • DATES 7th–8th century C.E.
    PERIOD Late Antique Period to Umayyad Period
    DIMENSIONS 35 7/16 x 18 7/8 x 2 9/16 in. (90 x 48 x 6.5 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Coptic. Stela with Glorified Ankhs and Crosses, 7th–8th century C.E. Limestone, plaster, 35 7/16 x 18 7/8 x 2 9/16 in. (90 x 48 x 6.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 71.39.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 71.39.1_PS1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 71.39.1_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2008
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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